Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | October 23, 2009

Small Kindnesses; Small Sacrifices in the Spiritual Life

I’ve been refocused as of late in doing small kindnesses, and making small sacrifices, inspired by a number of things–Mike Murdoch’s words mostly, The Imitation of Christ reading, the meditation, contemplating the nature and presence of the ineffable holy spirit–but mostly, when we let go of what is in our hands, God let’s go of what’s in his, and not in Mike Murcdoch’s sense that it’s a monetary gift to his ministry, although I don’t think supporting a pastor the way you would support anything is wrong–but in the spiritual sense of sowing seeds–seeds of kindness–a smile to an older customer and helping her try on her shoes, a word of comfort and understanding to a co worker, a monetary gift to a friend in need. The monetary gift is a great spiritual practice, especially if it’s more than you can afford, because then it prompts you to make the small sacrifices in your life, not putting the heat on one night, eating less another, not buying that something extra for yourself, a few less cigarettes a day. These are small sacrifices compared to what some people are going through, and it’s a way to walk the walk with them if you can’t be there. It is also a foundational spiritual practice, to deny ourselves a little bit of the worldly stuff so that we can develop our awareness of the spiritual, of the holy, of the sacred.

Catholics normally do these things during Lent, but anytime is a good time. And it does bear fruit in the spiritual life. We often fall short because we try to be too heroic in our actions, try to do too much, and then fail miserably. The small way, the little way, the way of Saint Theresa, works well.

These spiritual practices, these “ways” of conducting your life, are threaded throughout catholicism, taoism, buddhism, kabbalah. A sense of the sacred and holy, an awareness of it, and a listening, a life of listening and watching, a contemplative life.

A day like today, a day off, is so sublime. A round of tai chi. Some spiritual reading. Some contemplation. Some incense. A jaunt into town to pick up laundry and get some coffee, dinner, a kung fu movie, a phone call, and some blogging to top it off!


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