For the next nine days POTH (Pray On The Hill) will be reaching you from the west ... near the desert where some bare hillsides and simplicity speak out because they are not overwhelmed by too many other realities of God's creation.
Today's first reading about Elijah from the Book of Sirach, brings to mind what most people find themselves considering at different times of their lives: realistically what is spirituality? Where can I locate this "whatever" that I know that I should have? Today's world would ask where it can be purchased. It can be purchased but not with the "coin of our realm."
Elijah was a prophet, a man with a burning desire to serve his God. He was a man who felt an inner voice, a spirit, leading him, driving him, calling him to a mission. Recall the times you have read about the purpose of intention in the postings of this blog. Before we were born, we were in the mind of God. He chose each of us to assist him by entrusting to each of us a singular mission. Some might be the firebrand-type like Elijah; other might be more contemplative after a time of conversion like St. Augustine. It is our challenge in life to discover and to fulfill that mission entrusted to us. It is the inner-me, the inner voice that develops a sensitivity to what is around us, what needs there are around us, what beauty there is in the world we see through our eyes.
How do you know that the picture above, taken from the files embedded in this computer, is a presentation of beauty? Some might say "Look at the dislocated rock." Others might stare in awe. There is no beauty in the picture itself. What makes the picture strong is the spirituality in your heart, in your soul that you bring to your looking at the "misplaced rock" or an awesome sight.
Our challenge during the days of Advent -- and we now have come half-way through the pre-Christmas season -- is to become more aware of our own spirituality. By our growing a stronger spirituality, we become more open to what we see or hear in our world. We become more sensitive to people, their problems, their needs and the abundance that they do not realize God has given them and ourselves.
There is, I believe, no spirituality in the scene above. It is a rock, a creation in God's nature. However, it's power is simple: it can trigger your spirituality, you sensitivity to what you encounter. Imagine what our cities where there is much crime could be like if there existed a
genuine interest in a positive, not so greedy, not so possessive, spirituality. Yes, there can be a negative spirituality ... one that has been won over by the power of evil.
So, our Advent time is a chance for us to further strengthen our spirituality. Think about Elijah and how he listened to the spirituality that the Holy Spirit was stirring in his heart. Then ask yourself, "What is my spirituality? How much do I perceive goodness, beauty and love in the things and people I encounter each day?