Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Direction

A couple of weeks ago I compared the interior life to a kitchen remodel. You've got a skilled workman doing a complicated job, and while he's responsible for the work, you still need to cooperate with him or the job won't get done.But there's another way that the interior life is similar to a kitchen remodel: it's not always obvious what's going on. In fact, it's usually not obvious what's going on. Some weeks it seems like there's a flurry of activity to no great effect. Other weeks, it … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Feelings

When you embark on the interior life, you'll find that feelings come with it. Sometimes you'll feel that God is so close you can practically touch him. Sometimes (alas) you'll feel so bored you'd rather do anything else—almost. Sometimes even more than almost.The thing is, the interior life isn't about feelings; it's about an objective relationship with Jesus Christ. It's about knowing Christ and loving Christ, which is to say it's a matter of the intellect and of the will. It's about c … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Cooperation

Looked at one way, the interior life is a long series of repairs. We are broken people in so many ways, we fall so far short of the perfection God has in mind for us; and as we grow in the interior life these things slowly get fixed.I wrote this post in the middle of a long kitchen remodel; and perhaps not coincidentally, it occurred to me that growing in the interior life is less like being a handyman and playing Mr. Fix-It in your own home, and more like hiring a contractor to remodel … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Grace

Pursuing the interior life—a life of holiness—is not easy, but fortunately God doesn't leave us to our own resources. As I noted a couple of weeks ago, when we think of God that means that God's calling us. More than that, He gives us the help we need in the form of grace...which term basically means "the help that we need that God gives us."To put it another way, you can't get to know God on your own; He's got to be part of the process.God is free to give grace to anyone He pleases, an … [Read more...]

As Catholic as the Pope

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Some while back I told one of my sisters in the Dominican Laity that I wanted to be "as Catholic as the Pope: no more and no less." And she, getting entirely the wrong idea, lauded me for having such a worthy goal. She thought I meant to be as devoted, as loving, and as holy as the Pope. And that is a worthy goal (assuming that the pope is indeed devoted, loving, and holy, which has not always been the case), and in line with the Church's universal call to holiness, but that's not what I … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Hunger

I do not often resemble the following scriptures:Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. — Matt 5:6O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. — Ps 63:1And this is a problem for the interior life, because the interior life is a life of learning to love God more than anything else, to put God before all else. And since we cannot really ach … [Read more...]

How Tom Prays the Rosary

Rosary

As a Lay Dominican, I'm supposed to pray five decades of the Rosary every day of the year. I'm, um, working on that. I like the Rosary, and I like the way it leads me through the mysteries of Jesus' life, but I find that my meditations on the mysteries tend to be more or less the same from week to week.Enter Tom from Disputations, who has just re-run a post on how he prays the Rosary. It's really quite complicated, and if I had to try to do everything the way he does all at once, I think … [Read more...]

Bootstrapping the Interior Life: Respond

Reprinted from my old blog.The first thing to do in pursuing the interior life might also be the easiest, and that is simply to respond. If you find yourself thinking about God, for any reason, that's a sign that God's calling you to attend to Him. So do that.I'm not suggesting that every time you think about God, you drop everything and rush off to some private place to pray. St. Paul tells us to pray constantly (1 Thess 5:17), but one has to eat and work and so forth. If we are to … [Read more...]

Religion *Is* a Relationship

Leah Libresco says that time spent on religious activities isn't time taken away from your primary relationships; rather, religion is a relationship:I certainly spend some Sunday mornings grumping about in bed, not wanting to get up and schlep for a forty minute walk to Church. Or having to get up at 6am to get to the very early Mass, so I can make it to work when I’m needed. And I’ll admit that, in the moment, it feels a bit like a privation.But I’m not having my time or energy stolen … [Read more...]


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