For Christmas, I received a number of books. Any one who knows me knows that I love to read, and particularly I love to read spiritual books. I see this as an important way to grow in the spiritual life. In fact, I see that good reading material is nothing short of vital to growth in the spiritual life. As the Australian author and writer Matthew Kelly says, 'what you read today, walks and talks with you tomorrow.' Not only does a good book inform and encourage us in the spiritual life but also encourages us to share what we've gained with others.
This morning I started reading 'Love & Responsibility' by the great Blessed John Paul II (or Karol Wojtyla as he was at the time of writing). JP2 is one of my personal favourites, a man I see as a real influence on my life and thinking. The book, however is not easy reading. While containing so much gold on sexual morality it is not a book that I'll finish any time soon. This is where my thinking really led me to the point of me writing this. That is that you can read all the books and gain all the knowledge you like, but without relationship with Christ being your ultimate aim in both spiritual reading and in regularly participating in the Eucharist then it seems to me to be in vain. But make relationship with Jesus your aim and experiencing his presence in the Eucharist then the rest seems to fit into place. As JP2 says 'To use means to employ some object of action as a means to and end- the specific end which the subject has in view. The end is always that with a view to which we are acting.' (LR p25). Make Jesus your aim in everything you do, then notice the change you see. I've seen this happen as recently as this afternoon. After struggling through with reading for an hour or so, then attending Mass, followed by Eucharistic adoration, my priorities have been set in order by the Lord. It is then, with great anticipation, that I await what I am to read on later.
All of that said, I am eagerly awaiting what the next few months will bring, as we have a long string of Missions coming and lots of work to do for the Lord!
God bless you all!