Kevin Luksus, M.D., is a Catholic family physician, author, and parish leader with twenty-five years of clinical experience and thirty-five years of experience as a lay minister in both parish and diocesan settings (author’s bio, Amazon.com. I’ve referenced his book (A Shot in the Arm. A Guide to Diagnose and Improving Your Spiritual Health) in one of my Porch Talks.
I was looking at a presentation he once gave entitled, “Parish Dynamics.” Dr. Luksus asks why certain parishes seem to be growing, thriving and doing well while others seem to be stagnant or diminishing. He says that these involve processes of spiritual change and conversion. There is a counter dynamic that he calls spiritual resistance that influences a parish community. It can also have an impact on an individual as well. It is this spiritual resistance that I’d like to focus on in this article.
There are six types of spiritual resistance that can affect the spiritual growth of an individual. They are:
- Sin. This would especially include pride, selfishness, and complacency, also known as sloth.
- Attachments. Here we’re talking about the sins of greed and gluttony. Do we possess any unhealthy attachments to objects, activities, or persons?
- Natural resistance to change is about love for things that are familiar. Habits that prevent us from changing. An over concern for safety and security. Rigid thinking.
- Hang-ups and Disorders have to do with addictions or obsessions. They involve unhealthy attachments to things or people or activities. These have an inordinate power over our lives and decisions.
- Secular and Cultural Influences. Inordinate attachment to social media plays a big role here. Anxiety and excessive concern about the current state of politics also can fall under this category.
- Indifference and Apathy. This is another example of sloth. It can also involve the sin of pride. People just don’t want to invest the time and effort into improving their spiritual life. They don’t wish to develop a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. Or they have an attitude that they are “doing just fine” without any relationship to Christ or God, any church or community.
So here’s a question. Take a look at those categories above. Each of us has a personality and a personal spirituality that is negatively affected by at least one of those items.
Which one is it for you?
Here’s the good news: If you’re reading this article, you are already moving in a positive direction by using the Ignatian idea of “being awake.“ You have already taken the first step. As a second step, identify which of the items above applies to you. Finally, step three, simply take that in prayer to the Lord. See where the Holy Spirit leads you from there.