The spiritual journey can be so difficult. I so wish that the upbeat feelings that stem from beautiful Holy Week liturgies and the warm communal spirit they create in us were easy to maintain. But like anything else, Christian life is not lived within the confines of a church building listening to the sounds of wonderful music, taking in the scent of incense and candles or even attending to the proclamations of Good News from young voices.
Why was it so easy to behold the unappreciated gift of snow on the day after Easter and then to allow my language to deteriorate into a string of blasphemies as if this could prevent an iota of a flake from falling? Why did I allow satanically inspired thoughts of revenge fill me on Tuesday when, seeking to find a parking spot reasonably close to the center where I endure “physical therapy,” I happened upon a bright gleaming silver Mercedes (w/ beautiful black interior) angle parked to take out not one or two but three parking places. Why was I so immediately tempted to angle park myself behind the car to block that car for the next 1 ½ hours… or perhaps leave the driver a consoling note thanking him/her for this thoughtless act and perhaps making a reference analogously to that body part that is necessary for a bowel movement!
My point is simple: joy, warmth, and all the fuzzy good “feelings” that most associate with a life well lived – being a Christian – while among the fruits of the Holy Spirit, are not enough. One can slip into anger, annoyance, crankiness, cynicism or despair quite easily. It is not the initial moment of grace but the sustained effort and openness to receive that grace which is the hallmark to life in the spirit. It is a wonder to have that experience of love. It is far more difficult and yet more wondrous to live into a vocation to love.
The risen Christ calls us to love one another as much as he loved us! His was a love that took him to death, and then through death to life. I am whining about lack of parking and inclement weather. The spiritual journey can be so difficult – but worth it!