Fr. Michael Schleupner, frequent retreat presenter at our Center, offers the 4th reflection in his series about Spiritual Wellness. It provides insight into how we communicate with God about all of our feelings, which leads to healing. How do you make time for the “inner life”?
Spiritual Wellness – 4
Live An Inner Life
Few, if any of us need to be reminded to live an “outer life.” Most of the time, we are outer-focused – interacting with family or friends, with employers or fellow employees, with people we meet in the supermarket or talk to on the telephone. Most of the time, we are busy with many responsibilities and opportunities. We live an “outer life.”
However, we may need to be reminded to live an “inner life.” We regularly need to be slow enough and quiet enough to go within ourselves. We need to be in touch with our true self. To do this, it is important to be aware of our feelings. Our feelings are often the windows to our true self and our way to deeper communion with God.
For example, we may feel loved, satisfied, thankful, peaceful, eager, hopeful, inspired, secure, confident, and on it goes – feelings that we like and welcome. On the other hand, we may feel angry, resentful, diminished, guilty, ashamed, lonely, anxious, afraid, sad, and on it goes – feelings that we don’t like and don’t want.
It is good to go within ourselves and to name and own these feelings. They lead us to our true self and this is the self we want to present to God in prayer – our entire self, with nothing withheld. After all, God already knows us completely anyway. Our presenting our full and true self to God opens us to God’s presence and grace. It helps us to become more and more the person God made us to be and more and more one with, in communion with God.
So, yes, living an inner life is an essential part of spiritual wellness. One of the great twentieth century theologians puts it this way:
“In the final analysis, talking about prayer doesn’t matter; rather, only the words that we ourselves say to God. And one must say these words oneself. Oh, they can be quiet, poor, and diffident. They can rise up to God’s heaven like silver doves from a happy heart, or they can be the inaudible flowing of bitter tears. They can be great and sublime like thunder that crashes in the high mountains, or diffident like the shy confession of a first love. If they only come from the heart. If they only might come from the heart…. Then God hears them. Then he will forget none of these words.”
~Father Michael Schleupner
Quotation from The Need and the Blessing of Prayer by Father Karl Rahner, S.J.
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