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How a lack of progress in the spiritual life can lead to regression


Christopher Lemercier | CC0

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/24/23

If we aren't drawing closer to God, it's more likely that we will go backwards.
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It can be tempting to be satisfied with our spiritual life, not feeling a need to grow deeper in our relationship with God.

However, according to Pope Benedict XVI, if we aren’t moving forward, we will inevitably fall backward.

He introduces his thoughts in his message for Lent in 2012, explaining how the Church continues to grow in full “maturity.”

The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ (cf. Eph 4:13). Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth.

The key for Benedict XVI is to always strive for perfection, even if we can’t attain it fully in this life. He believed that it is essential to always move forward in the spiritual life.

The spiritual masters remind us that in the life of faith those who do not advance inevitably regress. Dear brothers and sisters, let us accept the invitation, today as timely as ever, to aim for the “high standard of ordinary Christian living” (Novo Millennio Ineunte, 31). The wisdom of the Church in recognizing and proclaiming certain outstanding Christians as Blessed and as Saints is also meant to inspire others to imitate their virtues. 

While we may never become a canonized saint after our death, we are all challenged to strive for holiness in our particular situation in life.

It may not be easy, and we may never attain perfection in this life, but the important part is the attempt, the constant desire to love God more and more each and every day.

LentSpiritual Life
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