The Key to Spiritual Stability
by Soren & Ever Johnson
“For so many, faith is a rollercoaster,” our pastor shared in a recent talk that seems more relevant with every passing day in our fast-changing world.
He went on to describe a type of spirituality that is constantly moving between “highs” and “lows,” between “apathy and crisis, joy and absence.” For many, faith is “up” at Confirmation, a wedding, or a child’s baptism, and then “down” for long stretches of time.
Does any of this sound familiar? The truth is, even if the stretches of time are shorter than between major sacraments, most of us can use more stability in the practice of our faith.
Particularly in the past few years, as we’ve navigated the challenges families are facing everywhere, we’ve found ourselves on that spiritual rollercoaster. One moment we’re on the same page spiritually as a family, experiencing the consolation and peace of morning prayer, family rosary, Mass, and frequent confession.
But suddenly, the rollercoaster plunges. We look up and it’s Thursday, and we’ve lost the thread. Daily prayer and devotional reading lapsed for a day, then two… We realize that bickering and impatience are up and that spiritually, we’ve slipped as a family.
“I don’t know about you, but I hate rollercoasters,” our pastor continued, “but whether you like rollercoasters or not, I don’t think most of us want to live our faith as if we’re on a rollercoaster.” And then he pointed to a surprising solution that we’re happy to share with you as a tool for your own domestic church or “Trinity House.”
The surprise is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: it is piety, or devotion to religious practices.
“Piety,” our pastor continued, is a “foundational” and “discerning” gift that allows us “to live faith in a stable, even-keeled way.” Piety is a “kind of steadiness in the spiritual life that we need,” he shared. The gift is less about “doing” and more about helping us “evaluate and discern” where things are or aren’t going right. The goal of this gift “is to make our faith part of who we are, not just something we do on Sunday, or in a crisis.”
As individuals and families, through faithful devotion to religious practices—of daily prayer, frequent confession and Mass, family rosary, etc.—we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us “understand why we’re not stable in our faith” or how to become more stable. Here are several simple prayers our pastor suggested to put the gift of piety to use:
- Lord, help me to understand the areas where I’m unstable, and what’s causing that.
- Lord, help me as a parent to provide more spiritual stability to my children.
- If we are struggling with making time for the Lord, we can pray, “Lord, help me to understand why I can’t seem to make time for you, why I can’t seem to take what I believe into my decisions and responsibilities.”
- Lord, through your Holy Spirit, help me to maintain piety.
The pressures facing every parent today make it hard to be stable in anything—whether it’s our friendships, diet and fitness, or our relationship with the Lord. But the Lord, who created us and knows our every struggle, also provided us with the special gift of piety.
As we continue to build and strengthen our Trinity Houses this year, let’s call upon the Holy Spirit for the gift of piety! With time, He will lead us to new ways of creating and maintaining the precious and foundational gift of spiritual stability that our families so desperately need.