I titled this post Knowing God, Knowing Ourselves because the two walk hand in hand. Sin prevents us from knowing God as much as we should.The more we are purged of sin the more we come to know God and ourselves. We are always being purged and healed, each and every day, provided that we cooperate with God's graces. However, this cooperation is key. Without it, our souls stagnate and eventually backslide. A person cannot stay in one place spiritually, we either move forward or backward. Responding to the graces God gives us is crucial. He knows the condition of our souls far better than we do and guides us in the areas where we need to progress. And what constitutes progress? Simply this...growth in virtues. If we see this growth we know we are progressing. There's no way to write about these things without a certain amount of bluntness so I'll try to be direct.
Sometimes, I feel as if I have bumped into a "wall" spiritually. What seems to help me get past this is taking a long, hard, look at myself. If done with honesty, under the light of the Holy Spirit, the obstacle usually becomes apparent. For example, after scrutinizing myself last week it became obvious to me that I'm struggling with sloth lately, especially in my spiritual life. This is an area of weakness for me, maybe more so than the other deadly sins. Except pride, which we all have to work on constantly because, to put it bluntly...we like to make gods of ourselves. Some people may say that this isn't so, but this in itself is a sign of pride. It kind of works along the line of "if you think you are humble... you think too much of yourself ". The entire human race suffers from pride. It's a lot easier for God to work in this area if we accept this as the truth.
Back to sloth. How do I know I am having trouble in this area spiritually? For me (I don't know if this will be helpful to others) the symptoms are fairly clear:
~ I am vaguely "repulsed" by prayer. This means that I have to really force myself to pray.
~ Aridity in prayer
~ Lack of zeal for the things of God
For example, I don't really "feel" like praying, reading the Bible, or going to Mass lately. I feel either numb or mildly disgusted during prayer. Just wanting to get it over with so I can move on to something else. I seem to be lacking my usual zeal for God (as embarrassing as it is to admit). St. Padre Pio knew what he was talking about when he said, "Aridity is the fruit of our defects", that's for sure.
Seeing that there are 7 weeks left until Christmas I thought I'd tackle the seven deadly sins by working on one each week. I am starting with sloth since I seem to be so affected by it lately. Another reason I am beginning with sloth is that once this is moved out of the way (at least to a degree) it will be easier to work on the other sins. I am hoping that this will prepare me for Christmas... that Christ will have a clean heart to rest his head upon and that this "house" will have plenty of room for Him.
Each week I will write about the measures I am taking to overcome these sins. Wish me luck!
feel free to join in!