Spiritual but not religious?
It seems that folks want the sense of peace and fulfillment that comes from a spiritual life, but are not ready for the discipline and hard work of the religious life. “I’m spiritual, but not religious,” I suppose meaning “I want to feel connected to something spiritual” but “I don’t want to be committed to some community or structure.”
Simply wanting to be ‘spiritual’, it is not three easy steps, or learning some little trick. Like dieting and exercise, there is no magic pill to take today that will remove that 75 pound spare tire by tomorrow (well, they’re working on it, but you get my meaning). Some little trick like substituting diet soda for regular soda or chewing each bite for 20 seconds, or taking the stairs at work that will not bring you a healthy life except as a piece of a complete overhaul.
Jesus’ promise of peace to the disciples is an underlying theme of the Gospel of John, and features prominently in Sunday’s Gospel lesson. (Click here to read it. We will read John 14:23-29.) But notice that Jesus’ words of peace are given not to the crowds but to the disciples: not to the occasionally curious, but to the committed followers.
The gift of peace that comes with faith is something that comes with the full commitment to following Jesus, not to the one who shows up once a week for a little “pick me up,” or worse, just a couple of times a year.
The peace that Jesus promises and the peace of the religious life come to those who are not just looking for the peace, but are committed to the full life of following Jesus. There are no shortcuts or simple tricks. But the rewards are worth the effort!
This column appeared in the May 26, 2019 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.