10 Questions for an end-of-the-year Spiritual Checkup
(Part 2 of 3)
In the last installment of this series we looked at the first three of ten “checkup” items for our spiritual health:
1. Are you more aware of sin in your life?
2. Do you have a growing list of questions regarding the faith?
3. How is your generosity? Or, does your budget reflect a commitment to funding God’s work in the world?
Today we will look at three more:
4. Is there someone in your life who knows everything about you or, are there things you are hiding? There are two thoughts behind this point. The first thought comes from the saying of the dessert fathers that reads, The one who chooses himself as a spiritual guide, has chosen a blind man, and a fool. As much as we would like to think that we can be objective in evaluating ourselves, we simply can’t. And we can never really know our own spiritual inner workings without another set of eyes helping us.
Secondly, God made us to be with other people. We are not really healthy outside of a healthy community. And to the degree that we are sick (and, like it or not, we are all spiritually sick to some degree) we can only gain health with the help of others. Alcoholics Anonymous gives us a good example of this point. Step number five in the 12-step process reads as follows: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. For all of us as human beings, health/sobriety/sanity (whatever you want to call it) can only be found in healthy community.
5. Are you actively involved in a local church? Or, how’s your Divine Liturgy attendance? When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit down on the disciples (Pentecost) what he was doing was empower the church to do the work that he had done while in the world. To put it differently, the church is now God’s primary vehicle of operation in the world.
It’s through the church that grace is primarily given out (through baptism, chrismation, holy communion, and all of the other sacraments). It’s also the church that guides us to (and helps to shape within us) a Godly life – through the life that she calls us to live. To the degree that we aren’t plugged in to the church, we are sailing the oceans without a compass, a map or a rudder (because the church is all of these things for us).
6. Think of the person that upsets you the most/causes you the most grief in your life – what are you doing to love that person as would Christ? This is the hallmark of a Christian (because it’s so difficult to do). But Jesus Christ is very clear in his teachings that we are not only to forgive those who wrong us, but to love them:
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).
And from the cross, Jesus leads by example with his final words to those who have placed him on the cross, Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Is there a place in our lives where we need to offer more of God’s forgiveness?
- Offered by Fr. Panteleimon Dalianis