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Responding to the Call

Human beings are innately curious about God. Our earliest ancestors, preoccupied with survival, may not have acted on that curiosity. But at some point, the desire for a relationship with God was first acted upon. Someone became aware of something greater than himself or herself, began the search, and then realized that the “something greater” seemed to be returning the favor. The seeker was also the sought.

The process is the same today. In our world of distractions, voices, and choices, the biggest challenge is to identify the stirring—or as some traditions name it, the “call” within us—as spiritual. We might think it’s something else and turn to a different job, relationship, exercise program, diet, or some other trendy pursuit, never considering that what we’re hearing is the ancient call of the Holy One who seeks us.

Alphonsus Liguori, a saint and spiritual teacher of the eighteenth century said, “We desire because first we have been desired.” Alphonsus and many other spiritual teachers believed that within each of us exists an innate call or stirring to spiritual wholeness and unity. We respond to this innate part of ourselves differently at different times in our life.

If you feel a need that cries out for attention, you may be moving to a point of movement in response to God’s call. If the distractions that once got you through the day or night no longer work, you may be ready to experience life in a completely different way. If you nod in agreement as you listen to another person, all the while believing there must be something more—the “yes, but” of life—you may be feeling a call to deeper spiritual development.

A true spiritual call from the Holy One will not simply disappear or go away. A response is required. A true spiritual call propelled the great men and women of the Bible. It’s the first step on a path to a relationship with God, the first step on a wonderful journey that leads to wholeness and holiness.

Many people of different faith traditions are making this journey. Some have been on it for a long time; others are taking their first small steps. But none of them has completed the journey—it’s ongoing. At no time can we proclaim that we’ve arrived, that the journey is finished, that nothing is left to discover or appreciate. The spiritual journey is an eternal quest.

Many men and women with scrupulosity mistakenly believe that their disorder recuses them from the spiritual call. Their primary relationship is not with the Holy One, but with an illness that distracts them, dominates their feelings of self-worth and caring, and filters reality through the lens of sinfulness. They feel they must choose between a relationship with God or a skewered relationship with scrupulosity. They want a relationship with God, but they don’t believe it’s possible.

Nothing can rupture your relationship with God. Any perceived separation, no matter how intense, no matter how real it might seem to be, is a distraction or an obstacle—but it’s not a reflection of the actual relationship.he pastoral advice and direction we offer each month in this newsletter provide a strong, positive, attainable directive: Scrupulosity is a condition, a disorder, but it’s not the primary identification of who you are as a human person and child of God. Scrupulosity can make a relationship with the Lord seem impossible, but that’s an error of perception. This error of perception is not a sin; it’s a manifestation of the disorder.

We are created by God to be in relationship with God. We are the sons and daughters of a loving Father.

That is the eternal truth. That is the reality—even when it’s temporarily obscured by scrupulosity.

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