We are creatures of habit and this can be used to great advantage for the cultivation of a spiritual life. Regular habits of silence, solitude, examen, lectio divina and journaling have been established in my life over the last few years. This helps me greatly, but I want more.
More recently, I have been listening through the whole Bible online. I am now listening to audio readings of Exodus and Mark at the YouVersion Bible app. I am encouraged that it is more viable than I thought possible. Going through the Bible is a challenge for me. Now I have even gone through the complex book of Job which to me is quite an achievement. This helps me greatly but I want more.
There were several moments in recent weeks when I felt a holy discontent. Where it sprang from I cannot remember. They were invitations from a heavenly source. An invitation to go beyond routines and habits as important as these were. An invitation to love God with first love, with desire, passion, enthusiasm, and emotions. An invitation to love God with more than just my intellect and will.
We are to live out our spirituality by faith without depending heavily on our emotions. However, if will and mind set on following God can be accompanied by strong love and passion for my Lord in this long journey called life, why not? Having a love relationship devoid of emotions all my life is not my idea of a real relationship. God did not create emotions, desires and passions in me only to want it set aside when He relates to me. He wants my soul and desires to want Him and enthrone Him too.
I now pray more often for this grace: “Lord grant me a passionate love for You. I want to be able to love You with all my mind… AND emotions AND passion AND desires. Help me return to the first love.”
I know I cannot manufacture this. It’s not sustainable. It has to be a gift. A grace. So I ask in faith and wait patiently for Him to stir my affections as I seek Him during Lent.
Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ (Mark 12:29,30 The Message)