I was reading a book the other day about spirituality, “When The Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings” by Thomas H. Green, SJ. In the book, he boldly said “There’s a time to stop reading and start doing!” It spoke to me because for some time, I’ve felt a call away from book reading and towards more action.
I can remember for years of my spiritual life in my 20s and early 30s, I avidly read spiritual books - probably a whole library’s worth. I was a seeker, searching for God, developing a prayer life, trying to understand His call on my life and what following Christ was all about. This was an important phase of my faith, but it wasn’t meant to last forever. It helped me to know and experience God so that I could eventually hear and do what He asked of me.
Fast forward to my late thirties, where I am now, and my spiritual life has changed. The foundations are already laid. There’s less seeking and searching. There’s a lot less reading and reflecting. There’s a solid everyday prayer life. I know who God is and what He’s about. I’ve found my gifts and life vocations as a married woman, Secular Franciscan, Vincentian, spiritual director, writer, and leader. The focus is now “doing” and keeping the fire of faith alive and strong.
Our lives must eventually move to active discipleship. After all, that is really what following Christ is all about! Christ was not just reflective and prayerful, but active – healing, teaching, loving, reaching out to the needy, and working miracles. So must we be. Prayer’s goal is union with God, growth in virtue and the building up of God’s kingdom.
For a lot of us it’s easier to scroll and read Catholic articles on Facebook, then it is actually getting up and doing the work of a disciple as Jesus did. But that’s our call.
If you find yourself stuck on reading and reflecting and not a lot of doing, and still feel like there’s a missing piece to your faith, you may be at a similar phase of the spiritual life. If you feel a persistent nudge to act more on your faith, that too, could be guiding you to more active discipleship. If you have a grounded prayer life and know God intimately, He may be calling you to take the next step – to the “doing” phase of faith.