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Spiritual life isn’t about techniques; it’s this instead

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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 01/27/23

Although some things depend on our own abilities and decisions, many others don’t ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

Jesus explains to us what the kingdom of God is and how it works so that we can make room for it. The kingdom of God is none other than that gift of faith, that gradually grows in our lives to the point of saving us – that is, of tearing us away from death and a lack of meaning and hope. 

Too often we convince ourselves that the spiritual life consists of a series of techniques that ultimately result in what we wanted. But faith is like a seed that works in us even when we don’t realize it, or when we think we are no longer able to keep it up:

“The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed upon the ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he knows not how. The earth produces of itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 

This should greatly reassure us. It means that although some things depend on our own abilities and decisions, many others don’t: They are given to us as gifts, and act in us even if we don’t fully realize it. When someone really loves you, that love acts in your life even when you don’t realize it, and especially when you need it the most. 

God continues to love us even when we don’t realize it, or when we don’t go along with it all the way. The only thing that is asked of us is to keep on welcoming him, to make room for him, or at least to try to do so.

Prayer, the sacraments, charity are some of the ways in which we welcome this gift. And then it acts in us in ways we ourselves do not know. Our commitment therefore is to keep on praying, to receive the sacraments in the best possible way, and to improve the good relationships we already have in our lives as much as we can.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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