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home : from the bishop : from the bishop February 21, 2019

What does it take to be spiritually fit?

Bishop David M. O'Connell, C.M.

More than in previous generations, men and women today take health and physical fitness very seriously.  That is a good thing.  Their time — so precious — their energies and their resources are devoted to getting, being and staying healthy and well.

But the human being is not simply his/her body; human beings are both body AND soul. With all that we do to strengthen our physical well-being, how much of our time, energies and resources do we devote to our souls, the spiritual side of our nature?

 I think we know the answer.  Most of us focus much more attention on our bodies, our appearance, our health and physical fitness.  Maybe it’s time for us to concentrate much more on our “spiritual fitness.”

The word “fitness” describes a person’s health and competence.  What does it take to be spiritually “fit?”  It’s not very complicated.

1. We need to acknowledge and be ever conscious that we are children of a loving God; we are not the source of our own being; we are its stewards;

2. We need to be open to the presence and grace of God at work in our lives and to be attentive to it; we need to love God;

3. We need to listen for God’s voice in the circumstances of our lives and we need to listen to God’s revealed Word in the scriptures and reflect upon it; we need to pray and spend time in prayer;

4. We need to attend Mass and receive the Sacraments regularly; avoid sin, and the near occasions of sin;

5. We need to be familiar with Church teachings and to embrace them; we need to read;

6. We need to respect, love and be willing to serve others, especially those less fortunate than ourselves.

The list is not exhaustive nor is it overly detailed.  But it is fairly clear.  Our spiritual health and competence include these simple indicators and measures.  We can simply look at the list and ask ourselves “Do I?”  “Am I?”  “Can I?”  “Will I?”  That’s my recipe for spiritual fitness.

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