Principles of the Spiritual Life
Fr. Bede Cisco
1) God Acts First. God Takes the Initiative.
The Spiritual Life starts with God's initiation in us. He started long before we were even aware of it. But when WE finally decide to pursue "the Spiritual Life", it starts with Awareness: paying attention to God working in our lives.
A corollary to the first principle is: Watch and Wait for God.
Since God Initiates... our response is what's important.
Waiting for the sun to rise is like waiting for God. He is there - always - and there is nothing we can do to speed it up. And the sun ALWAYS rises, so all we have to do is wait.
And if we really know what's going on, it is not that we are waiting for God to arrive, because He is always there: stationary and pervasive. It is US that are moving slowly toward Him.
2) I am God's creature, and He made me Good.
It is easy to struggle with the allure of sin. But remember how God made us, and our part is to develop the Goodness.
There was a very interesting ancillary discussion here: be very careful about humility.
We are not being humble if we view ourselves as less that what God made us. Humility is NOT putting ourselves down... it is recognizing our true and correct relationship with God.
3) I am a Mystery to Myself.
Growth is a continuous process of becoming aware of our own selves.
How do we do grow spiritually?
SILENCE: The importance of silence is in the listening.
SOLITUDE: Being alone with yourself.
PRAYER: Prayer is at the heart of spiritual direction.
"When you pray, let the distractions go. If you can't let them go, let them become your prayer"
"Pray 1/2 hour each day, unless you're busy. Then pray for an hour". -St. Francis DeSales