A Spiritual Home

Spiritual Chronicles Commentary

Today we need to befriend religious questions rather than dismiss or psychologize them. If we attempt an honest questioning of the underlying assumptions to our religious and spiritual beliefs which we have identified as a problem for us in the spiritual life, we are often frustrated.   It often seems that in attempting to seek an answer to our questions we are left without a spiritual home. We do not feel at home in the world which is the place for our spiritual life. One problem may be that many of us think about religious questions from a psychological point of view rather than a religious point of view. This is not necessarily an undesirable approach but we need to be cautious and not accept psychological thinking as religious thinking.   The psychological point of view may lead us to purchase a "self-help" book from one of the major bookstores, or less desirable still, from an airport kiosk. For those spiritually troubled or religiously curious individuals, who desire a deeper insight than a description of spiritual or religious issues, this approach is not satisfactory. What is satisfactory is the opportunity to talk things out in the context of a pastoral opportunity where spiritual possibilities begin to unfold.   Our parishes, lead by individuals called by God to serve the spiritual needs of the faithful, present such an opportunity to discover Christian spirituality without the inordinate emphasis on the influence of psychology. Most pastors will admit that they offer nothing very new, but offer a good deal that is old enough to have been forgotten by many of the faithful. And many will no doubt make this claim based on years of personal experience.   Pastoral claims based on years of experience are important because we are beginning to see that the relationship between science and religion that has been so antagonistic in the past seems to be reversing. Religious thinking, as many ordained and lay individuals are beginning to understand, is becoming the only frame of reference into which we can fit many of our deeper contemporary questions about the good life and a happy death.   We are seeing that to address the spiritual needs facing us in the twenty-first century we must pay attention to the biblical roots of lessons learned and shared by early saints and Fathers of the Church who lacked our psychological insight. Only then will we begin to befriend religious questions and build our spiritual home here on earth.