Last week I saw this from Sue Monk Kidd,
“The soul craves experiences that offer it the rich depths of God. Silence, solitude, holy leisure, simplicity, prayer, journaling, the Eucharist, rituals that touch the space of Mystery, symbols and images, the Bible, laughter, delight in the divine Presence, deep encounters with creation, and the merciful coming together of human hearts. All these feed the soul, producing energy for living the transformed life.”
It caught my attention for several reasons. First, she identifies many of the practices mentioned here over the last months. Second, she makes it explicit that it is not the practice the soul craves, or should crave, but the depth of God that we crave. Third, she knows that the practice is not the end in itself but is done for the nourishment it gives us; the energy it gives us for “living the transformed life” God calls us to.
The start of a new year is a time we often look back on the past year and forward to the new year and consider what we have been doing and what we want to be do. One thing to consider regarding our spiritual practices is why we engage in any practice. Do we practice for practice’s sake? Do we practice for only our own good, a personal “reward”? Or, are we drawn to a practice that feeds us and produces “energy for living the transformed life”?
While I see the value that comes from the practices I mention here, I hope we never let the practice become the end.