Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spiritual Progress Requires Desire and Strategy

I wish I had learned earlier on the importance of two notions in all human achievement and especially in the spiritual life: 1) desire, and 2) strategy.

Desire is not simply vague wishfulness. It is tied to strategy. I desire some end. Now, I must take on the means to reach that end. This is strategy.

Strategy is a plan, concrete, experimental, testable. I propose tests to conduct, make records, adjust where needed, and continue. This is a heuristic process, self-correcting, like science. It is precisely what St. Ignatius of Loyola proposes in his Spiritual Exercises with the emphases on discernment and self-examination. Mental prayer is effective, says St. Alphonsus and St. Francis de Sales, to the degree that we make a concrete resolution, foreseeing possible difficulties and solutions.

Hence, I should always have a big picture strategy and smaller tactics to execute and organize that strategy on the concrete level from day to day. At different points, especially by the end of the day, I must go over the plan and the day, how it was executed, make records, note failures and successes, adjust where needed, and plan ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments ad hominem or deemed offensive by the moderator will be subject to immediate deletion.