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Pathways to God in Everyday Life View Comments
By Catherine Looker, S.S.J.

A very wealthy young man runs to Jesus, kneels at his feet and asks him: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17). After this eager inquirer asserts that he has faithfully kept God’s commands all his life, Jesus lovingly invites him to a deeper level of discipleship—along with a promise that he will find treasure in heaven—after selling his possessions. When the young man hears this, he walks away sad because he refuses to give up his many possessions.

As compelling as this story is, we may also find it helpful to recall that Mark describes this young man as running to ask his question. This story can prompt us to question the pace and direction of our own spiritual journeys: How eagerly do we approach Jesus? Do we run to him? Or does fear hold us back?

Do we approach Jesus with hesitations and doubt? Or do we take our questions and concerns elsewhere?

Don’t we daily seek direction and guidance? While driving short or long distances, many of us rely on a Global Positioning System (GPS), a satellite-based system that works reliably in all weather conditions, everywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. We implicitly trust that the GPS will quickly and safely guide us to our destination.

Is there a similarly reliable guidance system for our spiritual lives and our relationship with Jesus?
Alice, a 33-year-old working mother of two small boys, recently shared: “How do I have time to pray and find God? I am so busy with my two children, and it’s much easier for me to pray at Christmas or Easter since I enjoy these seasons with my children, family members, friends and co-workers. But what about the in-between times when I often feel rather adrift, without a clear spiritual focus?”

What Alice calls “in-between times” the Christian liturgical year names “Ordinary Time,” the liturgical period between Christmas and Lent and again from Pentecost to Advent. Alice is asking the same question as many contemporary spiritual seekers: How can we more actively and securely follow Jesus’ guidance amid our daily tasks?

Using Gospel passages and reflection questions, this article will offer five pathways for spiritual journeys: encounter, trust, faith, freedom and community.
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Sister Catherine Looker is a Sister of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, which sponsors Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia. She is an assistant professor of religious studies there and has a broad range of experience in teaching, pastoral ministry, spiritual direction and retreat work.

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Louis of France: At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice. 
<p>He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children. </p><p>Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years. </p><p>He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. </p><p>Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II. </p><p>Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. </p><p>Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion. </p><p>Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty. <br />–St. John of the Cross

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