November 28, 2006

Feelings

Feelings are a funny thing in the spiritual life. On the one hand you have to pay close attention to them: the little angers and annoyances that arise in our heart remind us of our unreasonable expectations of the world and other people. Our little attractions to others remind us of our vocation to communion with one another, and ultimately, to God. When we're sad for no reason, it can teach us that our home is not here, but in heaven. When we're happy for no reason, it can be a foretaste of our eternal joy and beatitude with God.

On the other hand, sometimes proper ascesis and right effort is to ignore and disregard our feelings. On Sunday I was preaching, and I felt terrible. I was tired, and kept thinking that I was going either too fast or too slow. I didn't feel connected to the assembly, and found my text stale and repetitive. But my pastor said it was the best he had heard from me thus far.

I guess knowing when to listen to our feelings and when to ignore them is a work of discernment.

4 comments:

Catherine said...

Great reminder & glad to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles with this.

Laura H. said...

great post. great message.

friar minor said...

Nice to meet you guys!

Br. Chris Gaffrey, ofm said...

Ain't it the case that when we feel the most useless God makes the most use out of us. I gave a little talk Sunday and thought it stank to high heaven. And what do you know, two people stopped and complemented me in a way I knew had to be more than just the polite smile and "nice job".