More food for thought

April 20, 2011

From Christopher Jamison, “We need to help people to see that busy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be,” The Tablet  April 9, 2011, p. 9.  Texts in brackets are my additions and edits.  I also left the British spellings in place.

“… we can never assume that we all mean the same thing when using a common word [like ‘spiritual’]. Let’s consider somebody baptised as a Catholic but not practising: they might say that they are spiritual but too busy to go to Mass.  Many such baptised Catholics consider themselves both Catholic and too busy to do anything about it; they are finding other ways to be spiritual in the middle of the pressures of modern life.
     “The ease with which a phrase “the pressures of modern life” is accepted as self-evident is remarkable.  I regularly tell people that they are responsible for their own level of busy-ness and they take strong objection to that insight.  The first step in helping the resting Catholic to return to the fullness of Catholic life is to persuade them to take a rest not from religion but from the self-imposed pressures of modern life.
     “We need to offer some silence, welcoming them into a new environment of peace to help them build sanctuary into their daily lives.  Peace is something they crave, whereas to invite them to come to Mass with you is simply to add one more item to an already overcrowded schedule. We need to help them to see that busy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be….
    [When asked,] “do you have a religious faith,”[ the younger generation will say], “I’m not religious but I’m very spiritual.” They clearly don’t mean the same thing that St. Paul meant by spiritual. Paul would say that his converts in Corinth were very religious but not at all spiritual.
     “So spiritual has a spectrum of meanings that range from belief in life as more than meets the eye through practising yoga to attending Mass.”