Thomas Merton, in one of his classes for his noviates, was attributed to have said, “in order to have a spiritual life, you first have to have a life’. In one comment, Merton highlighted what is wrong with our spirituality today. Somehow, in the dark corridors of Church traditions, we were taught the sacred-secular dichotomy. Some part of life is spiritual while the bulk of life is ‘secular’. Only a few spiritual elites such as nuns and monks and members of the clergy live the spiritual life. The rest of us who work the earth and brought forth food by the sweat of our brows lived secular or non-spiritual life. This dichotomy fragmented our understanding of spirituality and hangs a false understanding of what Jesus meant to ‘abide in Him’. Merton meant that our spiritual life is to be found in our normal everyday life and not apart from it. It involves working, eating, sleeping, playing as much as praying, studying the Bible and attending church services.

Many of us try to live a spiritual life apart from our normal life. Living this dichotomy is doomed to failure. Trying to divide the body, soul and spirit and dealing with each individually leads to a fragmented, broken, and disconnected life. If we can only understand that Christian spirituality teaches a holistic concept that their spirit, soul and body are one, then we are on our way to integrate our lives as a holistic walk with Christ.

 

14 Jan 2019