I'm a 36 year old IT Manager at a University in Providence, RI who is currently discerning a priestly vocation.

Let's talk about Spirituality

Let's talk about Spirituality

Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
— Buddha

Brothers & Sisters,

Believing in some higher power other than God doesn't exclude you from being spiritual. However, I firmly believe that there are two levels of spirituality; Cafeteria Spirituality and Actual Spirituality. Belonging to one camp over the other doesn't make someone more holy than the other, but those who have a grasp of genuine spirituality live a life that is far more full with love, hope, and compassion than those who merely call themselves spiritual. Perhaps this could be construed as a controversial statement so let us discuss this a bit further.

Cafeteria Spirituality

When I use this term, I'm not discounting the fact that you recognize that somewhere out there is a cosmic force that is supremely difficult to ascertain that transcends what we know of this universe. This term at least for me means that you at least believe in something higher than ourselves, but that's it, the buck stops there. 

Most of the time this cafeteria spirituality comes from those you surround yourself with, the desire to be included in a community but really to only skim the surface and not dive deep into the mystery of that faith. Society, as it turns out, has a beautiful way of drawing us into things we might not ever have been interested in. 

I am purposely staying away from the notion that those who practice cafeteria spirituality often just do the bare minimum to consider themselves spiritual. I believe this is a false accusation that we need to move away from. The fact that you even took a step into being a spiritual human being is enough for me, I appreciate your effort and realize that you're mind is open and perhaps so is your heart.

The fascinating thing is that we all start at this stage and only move to the next when we find ourselves yearning for a closer relationship with that which we believe and have faith in.

Actual Spirituality

Those of us who fall into this category have our hearts set on fire, and our minds move a million miles an hour. We yearn for a deeper relationship with that which we believe in. We want to understand as much as we possibly can and apply that to everything we do. Thus making sure that we're living the life of good that we're supposed to be.

For some of us, we are drawn to serve the thing that stokes the fires in our hearts, others teach or evangelize while others prefer to enjoy periods of silence in reverence, bolstering their faith. There's a much deeper understanding that we have of why we believe in what we believe in.

The thing is my friends is that even when we're drawn further into spirituality, there's never a complete understanding of the mystery. That's what keeps us yearning for more and always exploring the depths of our knowledge.

One interesting effect I've noticed in strengthening my relationship with God is that I've been able to shed the salty out layer that was my life and let light into my heart and soul. There's no room for anger in my heart anymore that alone keeps me yearning for more. I started in the cafeteria though, going to Church on Sundays as a kid because I had to until my teenage years when I began to realize that there was something more there. Even when I had fallen away from my faith, I was still quite the spiritual human being. I'd often spend time in silence pondering the universe and existence. Looking back on it now I firmly believe I was praying and having a conversation with Jesus I just didn't realize it. 

In conclusion, my brothers and sisters all of the different facets of spirituality are wonderful and make us better humans. If you find yourself wondering about the mysteries of your faith reach out and let's talk. You can take baby steps to explore those beliefs and grow your relationship with what it is you believe in over all other things. 


Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

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