Tuesday, February 22, 2011


It’s been a long road for me to find a spiritual advisor. It’s been suggested to me a number of times, but no one seemed right. One priest suggested to me that when the right one comes along, I will know it. Honestly, I was not even remotely thinking about that subject as I walked up to receive communion a few weeks back, but suddenly I found myself thinking a question: “Is this the one?” After the question, quickly came thoughts of those recommendations for an advisor. So a few days later I asked the priest if he would consider it; we haven’t met as yet, and I am still in a bit of trepidation: Just how do you know if this is right, or meant to be? Oh well, I hear your answer you’re thinking: read your blog title, stupid. Okay, I get it.

In preparing for an upcoming meeting with him, I re-read a book by Thomas D. Williams titled: Spiritual Progress. I probably mentioned it here at one time or another; it is a very good book. He has a section at the end on how to work with a spiritual advisor, and I particularly liked the part where he spoke about advice I might receive. “Even when the director’s advice may not bear the seal of brilliance, we do well to follow it. … This reflects Mother Teresa of Calcutta’s saying that in obedience we are infallible:

The good God has given you His work. He wants you to do His work in His way. Failure or success means nothing to Him, as long as you do His work according to His plan and His will. You are infallible when you obey. The devil tries his best to spoil the work of God and as he cannot do it directly to Him, he makes us do God’s work in our way, and this is where the devil gains and we lose.
(Letter of 20 September 1959)

I wrote this last Sunday about the sin of Adam and Eve, Cain, and Satan: “I will not obey!” It’s the root of all sin, as I was reminded in confession this morning. Only when I/we sin, we don’t view ourselves as standing up to God and challenging Him and refusing to obey. Oh no, we view ourselves as “explaining” things to Him. “Well, this really isn’t a serious sin, you see God, because I couldn’t really help myself”, or, “this was not as bad as some other sins that people do,” or, “I’m just such a weak person, (You know that) that I couldn’t stop myself.” Or my favorite: “SHE made me do it.” (Adam was not only the first man, he created the first man-blaming-the-woman excuse.) So, we don’t usually stand up to God and say we will not obey Him, we say that we’re trying to obey Him, but “Well, God, You know there are these circumstances, and uh, …… well, it’s not my fault!”

When we can look at ourselves honestly that way, it is to see the image of God as our Father. So often, he must see us as just whiney kids. But He’s a good Father, and good fathers don’t let their kids get away with excuses. If the child will accept no other reason, and if he chooses to not understand, then the loving father explains the rules in simpler terms for him: “Because I said so!!” And with this comes the unsaid words: Will you obey me, or not?

I sometimes wrestle with my actions and their seriousness. Is this little failing really a big sin? Doesn’t everyone fail this way sometimes? God reads my heart, and He knows I mean well. They are all excuses I give myself, and since He knows my thoughts, I am giving them to Him as well. And sometimes I fool myself into thinking something is really no big deal. Often I use my knowledge as a tool to justify my weakness; I think most dissenters from Church moral teachings were intelligent people who confused their knowledge with wisdom. All Wisdom is in God, not us, but sometimes we let ourselves be confused, because it justifies something we want. And we all want sin; for all of us it is a natural thing to want. And to not sin is to obey the will and commands of God ---- even if in our “knowledge” we don’t understand the reason for His will or commands. Sin starts when we choose to disobey. From there, it’s all downhill.

If you want to be a member of God’s army, first and foremost, learn to obey. Seek His Wisdom, seek His will, and follow it. All of God’s commandments are reining in our inclinations to do things our way, to do them for ourselves only. The commandments put a priority on God and our neighbor, not on us. We don’t need any commandments to look out for number one ---- we just need them to help us decide who Number One is.

And, my wonderful friends, despite how beautiful and handsome we may look in the mirror, we ain’t Him.


  1. So....? How did it go? Did you ask the priest? Did you go for a session? How was it? I've had a spiritual director for the past seven years and it is wonderful. I can't recommend it highly enough. I will pray that things work out for you. My spiritual director says the only REAL director is the Holy Spirit. Everyone else is just filling in.

  2. I've got to admit, I often feel I get great direction from God. It seems He so often speaks to my soul, just when I need it. It's only when I ask Him for a miracle that often I don't get it, or at least not the thing I asked for. Perhaps I received what I needed, instead, but I just don't know it.

    On Sunday I received a let down, and I almost responded in anger, but then first thing Monday I read: "Blessed is the man who does not lose faith in me." And the readings were from Job, who had a few problems also. And when I opened my morning meditation book, the chapter was titled: "We should place all our cares in God." And my peace was restored. He gave me what I needed, perhaps not what I asked for, but still, faith to go on.