February 6, 2009

Press Four

I love to find spiritual advice in unlikely places. One of my favorites is my voicemail menu. Each time I call the enthusiastic voice invites me to press four to "change my personal options." Of course this a faulty description. Within the voicemail I can adjust things for which there is an option, but I can't change the options.

Nevertheless, each time I check my voicemail I'm reminded that the gift of the spiritual life is to be able to do just that: to change one's personal options. Just because we can exercise choice in how we fulfill our particular seflishness and our patterns of venial (God forbid, mortal) sins doesn't make us free persons. Nobody who is truly free chooses what makes him miserable.

The spiritual life invites us to do more than exercise the options we have settled for with ourselves. We are invited to accept new options, to "change our personal options." This reminds me of one of my all time favorite quotes: "God did not invite the Children of Israel to leave the slavery of Egypt: He commanded them to do so." (Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, 110)


4narnia said...

hi Fr. C! hope you had nice week this past week. this is a great post! thank you for the reminder to us all on how we can and should be "changing our spiritual options" all the time. that's how we grow in our spirituality. and that's why spending time with God in regular prayer and contemplation is so important - that is where we will be inspired "to do more than exercise the options we have settled for with ourselves," as you say in your post.

GrandmaK said...

This is a great reminder to me that I have the option to change and the changes made available to me seem great right now as a candidate in the Providence Associate Program at St. Mary-of-the-Woods. I particularly like the Thomas Merton quote! Cathy