Shrugging off Religion
and Replacing it with Nothing
According to Professor Mark Silk of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., "The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal,"
Increasing numbers of people are concerned only with new cars, mortgages, entertainment, or their favorite rock band or football team, unconcerned about spiritual matters. Even people who were raised in the Church, and who regularly participated in the life of the Church, have shrugged off their obligations to God, preferring sleeping in on Sundays, or spending their leisure time in the pursuit of social engagements, or sporting events, to the fulfilling of their obligations to God. They even begin to question their faith, having withdrawn themselves from the abounding grace that had previously sustained them. They begin to question if the Church is relevant to them, or even if God really exists.
Having become their own gods, they've surrendered to a secular world view, where self fulfillment is everything, and where pride rules supreme. "When a fall has overtaken us, there pride has already pitched its tent; because a fall is an indication of pride (St. John Climacus)."
Having become minimalists in the area of religion, they slowly sink in the quagmire of secularism, and the ultimate atheism that follows. Surrendered to the hazardous behavior of absenting from the grace filled Mysteries of Christ's Church, they sink into the mud of a life devoid of meaning, surrendering themselves to material pursuits. Ultimately they find that life hasn't been very fulfilling, and they wonder why.
In the ongoing pursuit of material and carnal pleasures, they spend countless hours in health clubs, toning their bodies in an attempt to stave off the aging process, while seeing no need to prioritizing the very pursuits that have eternal value. Finding themselves asking the question, "is that all there is", is it any wonder shrugging off religion has led to an empty feeling within, an inner nothingness?
When I was a young man I regularly went to the gym for weight lifting. A few years ago after having had a hip replaced, I decided I needed to strengthen my body in order to give support to the other hip, and fight off the arthritis that was starting to weaken my knee joints. Since I had access to the fire department's weight room (I'm their chaplain) I decided to resume weight lifting. I was surprised at how quickly my muscle tone returned, and remembered the truism that muscles have memory.
The soul is like that. Just as muscles rebuild themselves when we make the effort to exercise, so too the soul is quickly restored to health when we avail ourselves to the healing grace that abounds within the Church.
As we continue this new year, why not make a resolution to commit yourself to a reformation of your life? Commit yourself to regular church attendance, and recommit yourself to keeping the fast periods, spiritual reading, and prayer. Don't worry that you've not been attentive to your spiritual life during this past year, but focus on 2013 as the year of spiritual revival. Usher in a new year of enlightenment, where the Son of Righteousness reigns in your life, anew!
With love in Christ,
The Morning Offering (Blogspot)
Daily Inspiration from All-Merciful Saviour Monastery
Used with permission