Spiritual growth right where you are now


Temperance by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Wikimedia Commons). Time passes quickly. Let us live for God today.


I remember reading long ago in The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli, that we deceive ourselves if we think we would be holier if only our exterior circumstances were different. That made a great impression on me.

Temperamentally, some people feel they are in control of everything. Others feel like they are controlled by forces outside themselves. Melancholics can especially fall into this second attitude, feeling sorry for themselves and powerless to change their circumstances. St. Paul encourages such people:

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7)

Even when we are powerless to overcome our circumstances, God is not. Indeed, as both Paul and St. Therese tell us, our weakness can actually be an asset.

Teresa of Avila warned those who would come after her not to dismiss the holiness of the early Discalced Carmelites with a “that was then, this is now” attitude.

The Time is always propitious for God to grant His great favors towards those who truly serve Him. Let them consider therefore if there is any great fault in them, and amend it.” (Foundations Chap. 4)

We could easily think, “Oh, I’ll have so much more time to pray when I’m retired.” That may be true, but having extra time doesn’t mean we’ll use it wisely. We need to form habits of prayer now, while time is scarce.

Or, “When my kids are in school full time, then I can live a more contemplative life.” But instead, we might spend more time running errands or visiting with friends.

Or, “If only my job weren’t so demanding, I could focus more on my spiritual life.” But perhaps surrender is the next step we are meant to take.

“If my spouse were easier to live with, I’d have far fewer sins.” Maybe we would just have more pride.

The fact is, God knows our circumstances better then we do. When we follow God despite our circumstances we gain more merit than we would if circumstances were easy. And we actually grow, instead of dreaming about growing.

God has a plan for each of us, a plan He wants us to implement today. And though the details may be different according to our temperament, talents, and circumstances, the general outlines of that plan are the same.

Pray. Trust. Be humble. Learn detachment. Do everything with love. Be determined to never give up. These are the foundations of spiritual growth, and they are accessible to us all. This moment.

Connie Rossini

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Hi, I'm a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

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14 Responses

  1. Theresa

    Great reminder Connie!

    I fall in that trap with my demanding part-time job. *How much more peaceful I would be if I didn’t have to be on-call.* I could add a few more ; )

    Have a grace filled weekend!

  2. Kristin

    Beautiful post! They all are, it’s just that I don’t take the time to thank you. But I love each one.

  3. Peggy L

    I wish I were like you Connie. I can’t seem to do anything right for the Lord. I’m lousy at prayer. I’m so lousy that all I can do it seems is to pray the prayers that are already written. Anything I say just doesn’t seem right. I know I’ve only been in the church since 2010, but I should know how to pray by now and I should know mental prayer and contemplation. I felt so overwhelmed with all of this that, and I hate to say it, I stopped going to mass, even though I watch mass on tv and I say the rosary. I feel so depressed about it all. I wanted to be a saint. Now don’t laugh. I mean a saint of the church. I feel so down. I feel as though I am drifting away from God. Please, can you help me?

    In Christ,

    Peggy L

    • Connie Rossini

      Oh, Peggy, if only you knew! I fail God every day, but I just entrust my failures to Him and keep going. Did you read my recent post about St. Teresa’s method of mental prayer? She was unable to pray for years unless she had a book to use. We all have different temperaments and personalities. Please do not be discouraged if you find mental prayer difficult. Can you meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary? Can you say the Our Father slowly, from the heart? That is enough for God to work with. Contemplation is His gift, not something we attain or earn. I would encourage you to read my book Trusting God with St. Therese. Therese taught me that my failures and weaknesses can actually be to my advantage. If we are not naturally strong, we can become saints by total reliance on God’s goodness and mercy. This is what Therese called an elevator to the heights of holiness. The Devil would love it if you would stay away from Mass because of your failures. But I think you should ask yourself how much of your despair is rooted in pride. Only you can answer that. Could it be that you thought you were a lot stronger than you really were, that you were relying too much on yourself? That happened to me as well. I came to see that there are only ultimately two roads for the weak, despair or trust. Let your failures lead you to trust and spiritual childhood. I’ll be praying for you.

  4. Maureen

    Thank you for these wonderful words. They give hope to me and others who struggle with weakness.

  5. dianero2014

    Beautiful words of encouragement Connie…EXACTLY what I needed to hear today as I begin to step out into the deep, overcoming my fears and trusting more completely in the mission God has given me. Prayer, trust, humility, detachment, fortitude and most of all…charity!

  6. Martha Alas

    I think we all need to do good and just regardless the circumstances that life provide, If we truly trust and believed Jesus is present.

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