Commentary on the Gospel of
How do you keep score?
Was Paul’s epistle to the Romans one of the first exhortations about the dangers of materialism? When you read in Romans 8:12-17, “Brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh,” it certainly seems fair warning to all. But rather than focus on what we should not do, being “debtors” presumably acquiring goods to satisfy the “flesh” maybe we should instead focus on the positive aspect that is set out later in the reading and learn to live “by the Spirit.” But, living “by the Spirit,” a Spirit that we cannot see, hear or touch is so much more difficult than keeping score with how much we earn, the cars we drive or our job titles. So how do we let the Spirit become our scorekeeper?
For Ignatius, and nearly 500 years later, his twice daily examination of conscience may be one of the most tried and true ways to let the Spirit guide our lives. Finding the time each day to darken the monitor of your computer, silence your cellphone and stop the noise that overwhelms us so we can sit in silence and take stock of our acts or failures to act; so we can address our failings when we lived by the “flesh” but maybe more importantly take pride when we recount how we “lived by the Spirit” that resides deep within all of us is something we all must find time to do.
Today, take the time to make at least one appointment and possibly two on your calendar; an appointment just for you. Call it EC, examen, or whatever you want but make it a daily, reoccurring, perpetual appointment on your calendar and KEEP it. Try and focus on the good you did for others, no matter how small it appeared at the time, and how you “lived by the Spirit.” If you truly desire to live by the Spirit this may well be the most important appointment you make and keep; today, tomorrow and for the rest of your life.