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grumblerYesterday I spoke about willingness in our desire to follow our spiritual path. This morning I’m reminded that there are days on which we need an extra push – not to keep “the big picture” in mind but when the little things rankle. It’s not a question of acting out of our “small self” – i.e. about doing something – but rather about allowing thoughts to wander into negativity. Catching ourselves as soon as the thoughts arise is in itself a worthy spiritual practice. For instance, I may be committed to following Christ in my work and family life, waking every day and making an intention to live as a disciple to the best of my ability and really meaning it. But then when I come home from work and go to the den to read the newspaper, if I trip over my son’s sneakers, I will need to catch what arises in my mind to say…

Paul reminded me of this in just one line this morning (PHIL 2:14) immediately following Christ’s grand gesture of surrender quoted yesterday, when he says,”Do everything without grumbling or questioning.” It’s the word grumbling that stopped me. It called me to recognize that there are steps in the process of total surrender to God (see yesterday’s Merton quote). I’m all in with the decision to follow Christ. Now it’s a question of shifting my attitude, breathing out those grumbly thoughts and remembering love – no judgment on my ability to do so – just an occasion for the practice of going ever deeper, taking another step on the path.