Thursday, January 13, 2011

Spiritual equivalent to overeating, credit card debt, and too much reality TV

Put on the mind of Christ.

I’m trying to figure out why we never recognize times of prosperity when we are in them, but we sure know it when the economy is in a slump.
Like it is right now.
The state of the economy is a little like the state of a soul. When we are in a state of grace, we are busy with our calling. We are outward focused, concerned with the things of God, and interested in our neighbor – in a good way.
When we are in a state of sin, we don’t see it right away, but it doesn’t take long and WHAM. There it is. The signs of distress are unavoidable. Everything reminds us that we are out-of-order. Something’s broken. And we look around for a quick fix to make us feel better.
Comfort food. A credit card purchase. A get-away trip. Too much reality TV.
We pack on pounds, jack up the monthly Visa statement, wear ourselves out with hotels and tourist attractions, and let our brain feed on the misery of reality celebrities – like we can’t get enough of the brokenness in our own lives.
And we’re surprised when things just seem to get worse.
Turning the spiritual economy around requires deliberate action: true contrition (wow, I have really messed up), a firm resolve to turn from sin (no kidding, I’m done, done, done with that), and the intention to avoid the near-occasion of sin (here’s my weakness, those are my triggers, and I promise that the two will not meet if I have anything to say about it).
The financial advisors begin with the obvious life-style changes, the equivalent to “get yourself to confession ASAP”. Then, they turn to more creative answers. It’s the “once that is taken care of” talk. In the spiritual life, it’s the great list of options available beyond the confessional.
Prayer. Reading Sacred Scripture. Studying the lives of the saints. Daily Mass. Incorporating sacramentals into your daily routine. Beginning the morning with a prayer of consecration. Wrapping up your evening with a review of conscience.
And if that gets you excited, the professionals have a few fun things to try.
Wear a rosary bracelet. Get a pocket cross. Hang a holy water font in your front entryway. Research and visit a shrine, a monastery, a wayside parish. Get up in the middle of the night and experience holy adoration of Our Lord at an unusual hour – three A.M.
Three steps: Fix the problem. Begin to modify your habits.  Try investing in the future. It works with personal finances and it works in the economy of salvation.
You may not notice that things are turning around – at least not right away. But they will. In fact, you have a guarantee that they will turn around, and that is more than any secular economist can say.


No comments:

Post a Comment