Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Everyday Christianity and the Spiritual Combat

For me, the real arena of spiritual combat is the everyday world.

It occurred to me at my day job yesterday that it might in fact be sometimes easier to go and pray in secret than it is to live out the Christian calling in one's everyday life in the world.  When I close the door to my study and kneel down to pray, it is just God and I and no one else.  But the everyday world brings a whole host of other challenges in my mind.


As I write, I am sitting in a McDonald's with three senior men behind me dropping F-bombs every second sentence as if the word were going out of style.  In the break room at work, conversation is virtually impossible unless one stoops to crude humour.  People around me are bitter, resentful, tired, too busy to think, and shutting down their souls faster than I can write, simply because the world allows no time for peace anymore. 

How can one be a Christian in the everyday world when there is so much distraction, so little time, so much spiritual indifference, and more than anything, so many pitfalls and tempations to fall into living in a manner not befitting a Christian? 

I think the answer lies in a few things.  First, a constant awareness of the presence of God is absolutely essential - if we are aware of God's presence at all times, then how could we help but live in a Christian manner?  I think it a good habit to cultivate to ask oneself if what one is doing or saying would be something one would do or say in the presence of Jesus, or even the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The second thing is to use every situation and occurrence as an opportunity to live for Christ, in a manner befitting a Christian.  Disengage from conversations of a nature that can only lead to sin and temptation, refuse to judge others, refuse to be a conduit for gossip, take time for a silent prayer or two, or even better, pray constantly within the heart if you can.  Be a living witness to Christ in the everyday, in any way you can.  Most importantly, let your actions speak for themselves. 

Be assured, when I write "you", I really mean me.  I struggle with these kinds of things every single day, especially at work or when just out and about in the public sphere.  It's hard, because one is continually being blared at by all kinds of messages and worldviews that are completely antithetical to the Gospel.  The world is antagonistic towards the faith, be it passively or actively.  This is precisely why the need to be aware of God's presence is so very crucial, at least in my humble opinion.  It is the only way to stand strong in the secular world of today. 

Just some thoughts.

11 comments:

  1. This is a good reminder to remember God's presence and disengage. One thing I struggle with is disengaging but then how to deal with the other person accusing me of being judgmental. For example, I was watching a show with my spouse that had a nudity scene that I didn't want to watch. He ignored my request to fast forward it, and I could tell he either was annoyed at me or thought I shouldn't make a big deal of it. I didn't know what to do because I didn't want to start an argument. I've had people say,"what, you think you're better than me?". When that's not true at all. People get offended that I won't drink with them, when I've been struggling with issues with alcohol, and I don't want to tell my whole life story to them. It is hard.

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  2. Well put.

    This is something my Spiritual Director and I speak about often. If it is any consolation, everything you just wrote about I experience on a daily basis. How does one live an authentic Christian life with out compromise?

    The experience you mention can be a drain on your interior peace. At the same time, as I reflect more and more on this, also this is a blessing. What better opportunity we have then, moved by the Holy Spirit, to be a witness of Christ with the way we live our daily life. As distressing as it can be, as you stated, a constant guarding of the movements of your heart and a recollected spirit is very helpful.

    God placed us in this time and this place with these co-workers, etc for us to be a light. Might I recommend a most excellent book on guarding the heart, it's much more than this, called "The Third Spiritual Alphabet". A real solid prayer life and a sacramental life is the best thing you can do to help inflame the soul and give it the necessary graces it requires to be in the world but not of it.

    It's funny, actually not funny, but as I am writing this comment the person in front of me in the office is taking the Lord's name in vain...it just never ends. Lord have Mercy on us all. My prayers go out to you, recommend my heart to Jesus will you. Pray, hope, and don't worry.

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  3. Its even harder to disengage from such worldliness when it was your own habit of living for so long.

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  4. I loved your post, Jason.

    I feel the same. Of course, we lived in a spiritual combat and we are in enemy territory.

    Look, just today I read in NYPost that some professors in academia want to change the name pedophilia for "intergerational intimacy". They want allow pedophilia, because of that they want to drop the idea of child innocence!

    But, as you used to say, ICXC NIKA.

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  5. You are absolutely right. Ordinary daily life and the duties of our state in life is the exact arena wherein we work out our salvation and sanctification. Seraphim said, keep your soul in peace, and thousands about you will be saved.

    We are God's tabernacle among men - the Christ we receive in Communion we carry into the marketplace. This remembrance helps us to remain in the presence of God. Remember, when they tried to throw Christ over the cliff in Nazareth? "He walked in peace through the midst of them" - that was the old translation of that Gospel story. Likewise, he walked in silence and patience through the streets of Jerusalem as he carried his cross. These examples demonstrate that we may practice the prayer of recollection even amidst the everyday distractions of modern life.

    I'm so happy to see you know these things.

    God bless you!

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  6. Thank you for this - a very inspiring, very helpful piece.

    Zaidagal

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  7. This is especially difficult when defending the Church teaching on pro life issues, DOMA, medical and health related issues like contraceptives and end stage life euthanasia.
    The culture in health workers is getting darker
    JPII " BE NOT AFRAID "

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  8. It will never be easy on us end-time Christians, as almost all people have the spiritual mark of the beast.

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  9. I agree and yet it takes most Christians a maturing of their own faith and time in the journey to ascend to this understanding.I like what Terry Nelson posted also.The quote from Seraphim( is that Fr.Seraphim from THE DIVINE MERCY SHRINE?)is true to my walk with CHRIST thus far.PEACE all.

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  10. Thanks for this. I'm a military officer, and not only is it my duty as a Christian to disengage myself, but it's my duty as a leader to direct the course we take at the unit. I fail at this regularly. More often than I care to recall. Pretty much everyday. I will pray to the Holy Spirit for fortitude and right judgement. I know better, but lack the courage to act.

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