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Themes in Christian Spirituality II: The Uncharted Waters of the Heart: Spiritual Independence.

Updated: Jan 11

Spiritual Independence

I believe if we want to know what we should do with our lives, then it is best to reflect on what is important to us in relation to what is good in life and pleasing to God. Ultimately, spiritual independence allows the conscience to guide us toward the right moral decisions. In order to apply our spiritual independence, we must find a place, like the desert hermit, Saint Anthony (251 A.D. - 356 A.D.), to meditate and pray. The dessert hermits took their spiritual independence seriously and accepted their life in Christ. By doing so, they were able to use it as a guide for charting a new spiritual course. They were courageous people.

Anne Gordon (1956-) in her book, A book of saints : true stories of how they touch our lives, beautifully describes Saint Anthony's meditative ways as, not escapism, but as a way to " connect with the deepest regions of his compassionate heart in an effort to transform himself into a better person". Like Saint Anthony, when we've acquired this kind solitude and we are no longer distracted by a sinful world, we can become energized and ready to re-enter the world refreshed and reinvigorated.

Exploring The Open Sea

Five years ago, when I decided to become more involved in my Faith Community, I didn't realize how much of what I do is a solitary affair. Whether I am planning the years Bible school or working on a Theology project, I have found many quiet moments when I am deep in Thought. Thankfully, I've had a lot of support for my endevours, but it seems to me that my spiritual journey requires tremendous sense of independence so as to allow me room to alter my direction at any time.

It can be very difficult, at times, to gather enough courage to turn deep inside myself and bring out a new understanding of my life and its purpose. However, I think by altering our spiritual course, we can experience God in new and interesting places. A consequence of changing from one avenue to another, is our choice to give up what we have gained, or could gain, in our world and accepting, by faith, what we may receive in the new world. In my life, I too am after spiritual growth and I hope that I will have the courage to accept the unknown consequences of such a decision. No matter what, God will not steer me wrong.

Even though I am not alone in my religious endevours, I now realize that I must seek out the right times to pray. I simply want to contemplate more on what I can do for the betterment of the people of God. I hope to find an oasis, in a world that seems to be a spiritual desert and I feel when I explore the uncharted seas of my heart, I am closest to God.


Originally entitled Exploring The Uncharted Waters Of The Heart: Spiritual Independence submitted to the Rev. Tom Maddix as a Master of Theological Studies course requirement 554v - Taking a Chance on God - Major Themes In Christian Spirituality St. Stephen's Theological College University of Alberta

Published on March 14th, 1997

{Revised October 27th, 2023}

© Dr. Charles Warner 2023

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