The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit reside in the spiritual realm, but most of us have zero, or very little, spiritual power, whether we realize it or not.
Here’s an interesting fact that has stuck in my head for quite some time. A report to Congress from HHS on foster children (2005) highlights a wonderful point – that a child needs to develop physically, mentally, emotionally, AND spiritually. They also make it clear that all foster children should have the opportunity to go to church and develop spiritually.
Well they’re on the right track. But I would say that the majority of us suffer from “spiritual neglect”. Let’s take a look.
The latest religious polls show as little as 20% of Americans attending church every week. Of those that do go to church, only 7% do the “work” of their church. That means that 93% of church attendees simply attend church, eat cake and donuts maybe, and then go home. So, if a town had 100,000 residents, 2,000 would be regular church attenders, but only 140 people in the entire town of 100,000 would be doing God’s work.
Now, let’s consider spiritual power. For most church attenders, both Catholic and Protestant alike, church is just something you’re in the habit of doing. It makes you feel good. It lifts you up. It helps your children decipher right from wrong. For most of us (and I was in this boat as well), God only got one or two hours of our week. Most likely, spirituality suffers because it is not a tangible thing that we can put our hands on, like a Corvette or a flower garden.
So, let’s start developing that spiritual power. Let’s begin our spiritual journey. But how? Where do we start? Well, if you are Protestant, you’re going to have to swallow some pride (which is a cardinal sin anyway) and look into how the Church operated not only in the Apostles day, but also Jewish practices before Christ (such as praying for the dead), and the Church Fathers, the evolution of the Church (the Catholic and Orthodox Churches), as well as more contemporary doctors of the Church and some Saints.
It’s sad to say, but the end result (today) of the Protestant Reformation is that we’ve lost 90% of spiritual practices! I’ve been to churches that seemed more akin to an AA or NA meeting. And this was NOT the intention of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the other reformers. Luther actually had a strong devotion to Mary.
90% is a BIG number, isn’t it? Let’s take a look and see how it breaks down:
Most Christians will have the basic spirituality of praying to Jesus and the Holy Spirit or meditating on the Word of God, but there’s so much more. Let’s take a look at my Top 20 list of Catholic spiritual tools (feel free to add comments with any big ideas I miss):
#1 for sure, no Protestant church will have… the Eucharist – the real presence of Jesus, body, blood, soul, and divinity.
#3 Mary – consecration and devotion
#4 Purgatory and praying for the dead
#6 The Rosary
#7 Divine Mercy chaplet and St. Faustina’s visions of Hell
#8 Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of America, visions, apparitions, miraculous cures!
#9 Prayer, sacrifice, fasting, and suffering for the reparation of sin and the conversion of sinners
#11 The healing waters of Medjugorje
#13 Lectio Divina
#20 The Holy Family
and much much more…