We were the new kids on the spiritual block and had just decided to unplug ourselves from the corporate world. Little did we know it would be a roller coaster ride as we were about to not only pray but also experience ‘give us our daily bread’. Family of 4, last May we decided to serve church full-time as we moved back from Singapore to Hyderabad, bidding adieu to our loving spiritual friends. One of the partying gift that I remember the most was a book called ‘The way’ and I kinda liked it very much (still do). Not so much because of the cover or design but cause of the ‘size’ (those who have seen the book will know why), its a simple pocket size book, narrating about the musings of the Author.
First impression was wow! That’s our kind of book and it had a unique style of one-liners. The depth each sentences carried was little to comprehend at one go, but you would know each of those sentences has already nicked your consciousness. It just made me to comeback to those personal ‘whispers’ as the author would like to call them. One of my friends rightly points we need to ‘chew’ them on and come back and chew them back until we have great appreciation and fully grasped it.
Out of many, I would like to jot down few of the one-liner’s that had a great impact on us personally, these when read has an unsettling effect, it lies in the stealth mode but unravels a moment of truth that lasts a lifetime, they demolish the puff of ego in us as it goes on to reveal the depth of the author who coined them. Like to begun with one of my favorites: “How little a life is to offer to God” (Strike-1). We humans, specially the ‘spiritual beings’ rant about our sacrifices or the things that we do for God or his ministry, the usual boasting about the various roles that we play in his vineyard and then one fine day you come across such a statement and the “House that we were building on sand” comes tumbling down. It’s one of the greatest paradox, the more closer we come to GOD, the more little and unworthy we feel, so much so that forget of one year or a decade even a life if offered in HIS service seems so little an exchange for what we have received. One-liners like these have the power to flush out even the last strain of ego that may have accidentally creeped in our life as a catholic faithful.
Strike-2: “The day you leave the table, without having done some small mortification you have eaten like a pagan”. That statement came to us as a moment of relief and comfort as we were months into this spiritual journey and we just couldn’t more appreciate how important mortification have/is been an important tool in the life of a faithful and the most unused one too. But, when shared in our ‘spiritual circle’ not many were ready to accept it, for obvious reasons that it demand’s were heavy and it carried the momentum (if practiced) to throw any catholic faithful right out of their couch of sloth and lazy life. Today, daily as we sit at our lunch/dinner table we all have a choice to make small secret prayers (“…father who sees in secret will reward you” cf. Mt 6:4) – be it that extra curry that we give a miss, or that extra second serving we refuse to take, or even when the body demands more we gently tame it by eating little or the extra care we take not to even waste a single grain, then my dear friends we have been a practicing catholic or else least be assured there is no difference between us or a non-believer. Pope Francis has a beautiful sharing to add: “The food we throw away is as if stolen from the table of poor”. Rings a bell?
Humility takes a bit of beating when we wonder do we need to be guided in this spiritual earthly journey. A spiritual elder or mentor is often seen an ‘optional’ or one may even ask is there a need of one? It may not so be an option for a faithful who is serious about his ‘destination’. The author kills two birds with a stone when he voices: “You think you are quite important: your studies, your research work, your publications, your social standing, your name, your political activities, the positions you hold, your wealth… your age: you’re no longer a child!…Just because of all that, you, more than others, need a Director for your soul.” (Strike-3! – Knock out) Not only having a mature spiritual director keeps us focused in our walk of faith, but it cloths us with humility too as we ‘unmask’ our spiritual life and weaknesses to our spiritual mentor.
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Selfless Giving, Mortification and Humility are just three among many of the virtues that the author delivers through his life, by now one may have guessed who he is. Well, for the one who still gather clues, he is a humble soul that walked not long ago, having seen through the entire WW-II, as a catholic priest he gave his full and total assent to what God was calling him for. Founder of one of the greatest lay movement – ‘Opus dei’ that we are blessed to have, needless to mention he was canonized(in 2002) by Blessed John Paul-II, we speak of none other than of our dear St. Josemaria Escarvia. “Escrivá de Balaguer was a very human saint”, preached John Paul II. Born in Spain, his in-famous whispers/teachings are captured under the title ‘Camino’ (Spanish – ‘Path’) sold more than 4.3M copies and translated in 43 languages, which has and still continues to inspire many including us, as we draw our inspiration. St. Catherine of Siena hinted rightly: “If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire”.
St. Josemaria – Pray for us