Unlike many people (including Christians) realize, spiritual practices do not make us closer to God. They don’t give us points of any kind either. We start to strive and use them as such, perhaps, but then they just become works for righteousness. Useless. (We recall the term used by St. Paul “filthy rags”)
Spiritual practices (ways we are spiritual) serve us only in that they prepare the heart for God’s work, and his grace. We can think of it like a carburetor that is primed by drawing up fuel through the fuel line, so combustion can take place when a spark joins it with the oxygen there. It’s preparatory.
These practices are not ends onto themselves. They don’t even help us move anywhere. God does all the work. (This is grace.) But, we may be willing in the process. The whole idea of this can cause us to relax. Why? Because all the trying doesn’t help. Only a passionate devotion, and willing, open heart to the Loving Divine.
Prayer may be a spiritual practice, but it mustn’t be thought of as a means to gain God’s pleasure, or even to grow holy through doing it. But, prayer may prepare us for God to make us more like himself.
What has prepared your heart? (what practices or attitudes?)
Or do you feel like you are in a dry spell?
Send in your spiritual queries or comments. I’d love to hear from you.