Nicky Gumbo of Alpha fame uses an amusing analogy to demonstrate how Christians can miss the mark. He tells the story of a fellow who purchased a brand new BMW which he secured carefully in his garage. Retrieving the manual for the vehicle, he decided he would study it. For the next couple of months he read and re-read the manual pausing to reflect on various features of the vehicle described in the manual. The manual sat on his bed side table and he would peruse it before going to sleep at night. He would take it with him on business trips and reference it when he had a few moments to spare. He began to do some writing paraphrasing its contents and sharing the information with his neighbors. All the time, his gleaming new vehicle sat in the garage unused.

untitledNicky, I believe, was pointing out the difference between religion and religiosity. Religiosity is to idolize the medium [the Bible {the Manual} or Ritual or Doctrine etc] instead of permitting the medium to lead to spirituality. Spirituality requires love, leading to kindness and humility. Religiosity is often harsh and condescending and can reflect a false piety which is a piety based upon one’s own pre-conceptions rather than a piety birthed by an encounter with the risen Christ.

As Catholic Christians we are particularly susceptible to Religiosity steeped as we are in ritual, structure and doctrine. Non Catholic Christians who are “Bible Christians” may only have to worry about allowing the Bible to become the idol. As Christians we have always to be careful that we are not consumed and obsessed with rituals, spiritual jargon that amount to catchphrases and the rules and laws as this can amount to practicing religion as an end in itself. No doubt the enemy, who is always looking for an opening, will craft the idol so that it appears to fit, when in fact it doesn’t, since the “end” has always to be Jesus.

No Christian can argue that the medium is not of extreme importance in the quest to find Jesus but it has to be the vehicle. True spirituality will never reside in the medium but only in the soul who continues to encounter the grace dispensed by Jesus as that soul moves forward in conversion.

When true spirituality is encountered in a person it glows with humility for the soul recognizes its total dependence on its Creator. This soul recognizes that it can never achieve holiness on its own but only in reliance on the grace it receives and then only when it relies on that grace to build a strong personal relationship with Jesus.

We need to be able to repeat regularly a simple prayer such as “Oh Jesus, have patience with me. You must do it, for I cannot”.



One thought on “MISSING THE MARK

  1. Missing The Mark. Chris you are so right. I really like what you wrote here. My powerful prayer for my days is Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.

    We need Our Lord to face our daily tasks.



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