Setting Goals for your Spiritual Life

This article on setting goals for your spiritual life is taken from the collected works, Articles and Manuscripts of Dominic Farrell.

Setting Goals for your Spiritual Life.

Our spiritual life is something that we should care for, watch over and attend to, like a gardener taking care of his garden. All of us would like to see good results, but this requires, as with everything, that we put in some work to achieve these results. Flowers and herbs will not spring up on their own in an ordered fashion, nor will the weeds decide to make way for them and disappear.

The ground will need to be tilled first and noxious growth will need to be uprooted. Then the plants must be seeded in a place where they will catch the sunlight and they will need to be watered on a regular basis, and so forth. It is a similar case with the soul and its growth in the ways of the spirit.

Like the garden, if it is neglected, the weeds of bad habits will simply take over and the good seeds of virtue will wither and die. If we find that we are not doing enough to keep spiritually healthy, then it may be good for us to set achievable goals for ourselves.

The spiritual life is something that lies deep in the individual and it is not felt much. It is also something mysterious, so we can get lost and wonder where we stand in it. But to keep it moving and be confident that we are making some progress and not falling too far behind, there are many external and practical things we can do. For example, we can set ourselves ten to fifteen minutes of spiritual reading to get through each day.

We can set ourselves the task of getting through a certain amount of the Bible, such as The New Testament or the Book of Psalms. We can also take on a daily devotion – it is a good means to overcome our temptation to neglect prayer. If it is a small devotion it will be easier and then after we have done it for the day, we will by then have gotten into the mood so to speak, of prayer and be ready to continue with some more prayer.

If a meditation seems hard, we can set ourselves the task of having one session of personal conversation with God – you quite literally talk to God about whatever comes to your mind; do not worry if you do not feel a whole lot coming back from Him there and then in return.

God is always pleased with this and it is a form of mental prayer. We are children of God after all, and He is a good Father. So what are we waiting for?! We can also get creative; we can set ourselves the task of writing or doing art that relates to something holy. We can copy/write down passages from Holy Scripture as a meditative exercise. Or we can record things and consider sharing what we achieve on social media.

We can monitor our spiritual lives by creating a check list and marking down each night the things we did to help the soul grow in grace, knowledge and virtue.

A Balanced Life.

Human nature needs a daily balance of prayer, work, learning and recreation. We need to make these things operate together, without them contradicting or harming each other.

That is, we shouldn’t give to one of them all our attention while not allowing sufficient time to attend to the others. Balance is necessary to live an ordered and happy human life.

If we find ourselves generally unhappy and discontent, there is going to be a reason for it and it should not come as a surprise that it comes down to a lack of balance between the mundane, necessary and more natural and human side of things, and the spiritual and intellectual side of things.

There is also in us an appetite to know, an appetite to feed the intelligence on what is true, and there is a need in the soul to get closer to its ultimate end which is God.

There is also a need in us to love and to love rightly, to love unselfishly and for want of a better word, to love properly. And on the other hand there is also a need to be somewhat down to earth, and to get on with our domestic or secular business.

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