Jesus invites us today to love God with all our heart, mind and soul. I would suggest that one area we often neglect is loving God with all our mind.
We can have an anti-intellectual attitude, thinking It is not important to know things about God, as long as we know God personally, having a relationship with Jesus though prayer. Or acting as if all that is important is that we love others, we do good deeds. We can do this without being theologians or scripture scholars.
If I care for someone I want to know about them – I am curious about them and their lives, their interests, their hobbies, their history, their dreams. If your fiancé likes country music – you learn about country music – and you might even begin to like it. If your husband is a bird watcher you learn about birds – if he’s from another country you learn about that country. If we really love God– we will want to know everything about him. We will enjoy learning about him.
Ultimately it true that our deeds are more important than abstract knowledge. In order to serve others we need to know what they want. Often in marriage conflicts arise not due to a lack of love and good will, but a lack of understanding. John thinks he is being a good husband by bringing home flowers every day, but what Susan really wants is for him to take out the garbage. She makes his favourite meal but he doesn’t appreciate it – he is upset that she didn’t give him a kiss when he walked in the door. Both are trying to show love – but don’t realize what the other person needs. If we want to love someone we need to know them!
If we want to serve God, to do good deeds we need to know what God wants. What is right and wrong – many things are called “good” that are not – many things called “love” that are just selfishness in disguise. There are many things God demands of us – that few people take seriously. We must serve God on his terms, not ours.
Most of us here attended a Catholic school, or went to catechism class as a Child – we may think we know a lot about our faith. But have you ever watched “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” If we do not use knowledge or review it, we eventually forget it!
So how do we love God with all our mind? One practice that helps spiritual reading. This is one of the 7 spiritual pillars mentioned by Matthew Kelly in his book “Rediscovering Catholicism”
Spiritual reading is not simply studying books about religion. It is a form of prayer. Normally the type of book we read should not be something very difficult or abstract, but something that helps us to pray or to put the truths of our faith into practice.
For spiritual reading to be fruitful it is not just picking up a book every now and then – it should be a discipline. We should dedicate 10 or 15 minutes each day to spiritual reading. We should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten us and help us to understand what we read and put it into practice. We should read slowly, at a relaxed pace, Pausing if something strikes you and consider it for a few moments in the presence of God.
I will recommend on our website some books that may be useful. I hope to improve our parish library and also I am looking into the possibility of having a book kiosk similar to the CDs we have at the back of the Church.
But you don’t have to wait to get started! We have available “Rediscovering Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. Please pick one up 5$ This book is very easy to read and at the same time is provocative and challenging. I think many people will be able to benefit from it. I will continue to comment on the THIRD section of the book in my preaching this year and we plan to have book clubs based on it. Looking for volunteers who want to help lead a group
Let us love God with all our heart, all our soul and all our minds.