My wife and I completed an intense bout of pre-spring cleaning this past weekend. It was a mere two days before the official start of Spring. That, coupled with a reference to avoiding desolation and clearing our soul from the “dustiness” of a dry spiritual life, during my weekly parish men’s group influenced the title of this post and inspired me to write today.
I am a neat freak. In fact, one of the major three tenets my personal blog is based on is organization. I am passionate about decluttering, sorting, and cleaning dusty crevices in my house. Yet, when it comes to the spiritual life, why do I occasionally lack the same fervor that I have cleaning my physical house?
According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 797,
“What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church.”243 “To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members.”244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church “the temple of the living God”.
The cleansing power of the Holy Spirit
This imagery of the Holy Spirt being housed in the church is not new. St. Paul clearly states this in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 2 Corinthians 6:16 to name just a couple verses. However, it was through the intercession of St. Teresa of Avila’s writing that I especially encountered this truth recently.
She begins her greatest work, Interior Castle, with the following divinely inspired words, “I thought of the soul as resembling a castle, formed of a single diamond or a very transparent crystal and containing many rooms, just as in heaven there are many mansions.”
Teresa’s description of the soul is easy for me to understand yet at the same time illustrates the complexity of our human condition.
Throughout the Interior Castle the doctor of the Church takes readers on a spiritual journey by examining how in navigating through the castle of our soul we are able to grow in closer union with God. Without a thorough examination of oneself and spiritual guidance we are not able to recognize the graces God grants us daily and gives ways for us to clear out the “dustiness” of our soul. Just like how my home needs frequent seasonal cleanings, the Church in Her wisdom has seasonal cleanings as well for us to grow in holiness.
Avoiding Spiritual Angst
Too often this year has led to an increase in clutter, chaos, and the temptation to keep material things to give us peace. While not a hoarder (at least of physical items), I have struggled with spiritual laziness and gluttony. Instead of placing my utmost trust in God’s Providence amidst the unpredictability of 2020, I “hoarded” my fears, feelings, and angst.
Saint Teresa of Avila is a wonderful role model for how to clear out the clutter of fear and sin in my life. My spiritual life need not be at the surface level. Her spiritual work helps me invite God past the entryway of my “spiritual home” and into the recesses of my heart.
My goal is to take a few minutes each week to reflect on St. Teresa of Avila’s words in Interior Castle. I hope you all prayerfully consider to join me in this journey and cleanse your own soul of the “dustiness” of sin and temptation. To learn more amazing stuff about this amazing Doctor of the Church follow my blog at https://thesimplecatholic.blog/.
Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices. Amen.