I seem to be getting asked a lot about “spirituality” the past few weeks. People wondering why their spirituality and prayer life is different from others. I think spirituality can be look at much like “personality”. Each of us has a unique personality. Although personalities can be grouped into “types”, for the most part, we are all different. So, why can’t we look at spirituality way? Just like my personality is different from yours, so is my spirituality. One good look around the church at Eucharistic Adoration shows people reading devotionals, praying the rosary, on their knees in deep in prayer, and fixated on starring at the Eucharist. All of them are worshiping God with their unique, and very different, spirituality. And that’s something we must respect in each other. Forcing my spirituality on you is like forcing you to act like me.
To understand our own spirituality, we must know where we are on our spiritual journey. It’s a journey, for the most of us, that lasts a lifetime. It only happens when we strive for holiness and desire to be with God. That means our hearts and minds and actions are in full union with Him every day of our lives. Our spiritual journey has three distinct phases. It begins with the Purgative Phase where our soul yearns for more. We experience an awakening, a wakeup call, and begin to recognize our desires and affections are not fed by an attraction to sin or worldly temptations. Next, we move into the Illuminative Phase where we start to grow in prayer life and love for others. We begin to think and act differently while developing a deepening desire to be with God. Finally, we move to the Unitive Phase where a deep union with God brings an inner joy and profound humility to be content with ourselves and seek to make other’s lives more bearable. St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a good example of living in the Unitive Phase. Here, we are free from fear over suffering, loss, the unknown, evil, and even death. The Unitive Phase is what we strive for – to experience God’s continual presence in our everyday life.
Whether we know it or not, each of us are traveling on this spiritual journey. Maybe we are just beginning, while others have finished and home with the Lord now. What’s important is to search our hearts to know where we are at on that road and strive to make the journey. Isaiah wrote “A highway will be there, called the holy way; No one unclean may pass over it, but it will be for his people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray on it. No lion shall be there, nor any beast of prey approach, nor be found. But there the redeemed shall walk.” (Isaiah 35 :8-9) As we continue celebrating this Easer Season, may we pray for courage and perseverance to travel the Holy Way to become one with God.