On the path

Daily Reading for November 9

I have reflected at length upon spiritual discipline, what it is, what motivates it at best, what it is oriented toward. I have concluded that I cannot “capture” it with my mind, because it inevitably involves what I regard as opposites—strictness and fear as well as generosity and delight. It seems to me that at some point I must simply give up my struggle to understand and give myself to a regimen that has been tested by others of faith.

One of the very difficult things about such self-giving (submission) for a person like me is the sense in which it must involve a leap of faith. At some points along the journey, it is not permitted to me to ask “why.” That is not because I cannot or do not want to ask, but because I haven’t yet the capacity to receive the true answer. I have discovered that the very essence of spiritual formation is that it involves encounter and engagement with something/Someone of whom I am profoundly ignorant. It seems right that initially I test the path I wish to consider for its reasonableness and its compassion. But it is equally appropriate for me to realize that there are times in which my present worldview is totally inadequate for me to receive the response I seek. So I must simply continue to give myself to that which I do not understand. In such a journey, how very much I value the guides of tradition and authority that give me occasional markers, letting me know that others have trod here before me.

From Norvene Vest’s Preferring Christ: A Devotional Commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict. Copyright © 2004. Used by permission of Morehouse Publishing, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. www.morehousepublishing.com

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