Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Well Said: Signposts for the spiritual road

One of my most vivid childhood memories is of seeing, up in the mountains near my home, those signposts they planted alongside the hill paths. I was struck by those tall posts usually painted red. It was explained to me that when the snow fell, covering up everything, paths, seeded fields and pastures, thickets, boulders, and ravines, the poles stood out as sure reference points, so that everyone would always know where the road was.

Something similar happens in the interior life.There are times of spring and summer, but there are alos winters, days without sun and nights bereft of moonlight. We can't afford to let our friendship with Jesus depend on our moods, on our ups and downs. To do so would imply selfishness and laziness, and is certainly incompatible with love.

Therefore, in times of wind and snow, a few solid practices of piety, which are not sentimental but firmly rooted and adjusted to one's special circumstances, will serve as the red posts always marking out the way for us, until the time comes when Our Lord decides to make the sun shine again. Then the snows melt and our hearts beat fast once more, burning with a fire that never really went out. It was merely hidden in the embers, beneath the ashes produced by a time of trial, or by our own poor efforts or lack of sacrifice.
St. Josemaria Escriva, Friends of God
I tend to blame myself when my interior fires aren't burning brightly all the time, forgetting that it would be unnatural (as well as annoying) to always be "on." I love this reminder that the low times are the moments when we can lean on our regular spiritual practices and duties to carry us through to the next patch of sunshine, the next glorious season.

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