Have you ever had someone say to you, “I’m spiritual, but I’m just not religious.”? There are times I have reflected on what that actually means, so here are a few thoughts.
The word “spiritual” refers to the deepest part of our being where we experience God. Spirit is the dimension of each of us whereby we are always aspiring to be in union with God. Can such moments occur outside of a church? Certainly they can happen – in the woods, on a lake, or wherever you feel God’s presence. But true spirituality needs to be nourished so that it may grow. To be truly spiritual, we must continue to grow closer and closer to Jesus, sometimes in ways we may never imagine. Stagnant spirituality is equivalent to being a lukewarm Christian. Jesus warns us of that danger over and over in the Gospels.
Then what is “religious”? It is simply the practice of someone’s thought about or worship of a divine being. The key word here is “practice”. When we are religious, we practice our spirituality; we put it into action. When we are here together at the Mass, praying, singing, meditating, we are in reality practicing our spirituality.
It would seem to me (realizing this can be argued) that we need to be religious to get closer to Jesus. Experiencing him in nature is great, but to get closer to the one who created us, we have a necessity to be religious. And our Catholic faith (religion) offers us the absolute, most intimate humanly possible way to get closer to Jesus: It is called the Eucharist, and it is truly the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. If you want to experience the ultimate in spirituality, to feel God’s presence deep inside of you, I beg you to experience this wonderful Sacrament as much as possible! If you do, I guarantee you will get closer and closer to Jesus every time and he will continue to change your life in ways you may never realize!
- Deacon Jeff