Bishop Robert Barron is the founder of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is also the host of CATHOLICISM, the groundbreaking, award-winning documentary about the Catholic Faith (and a newly released sequel called The Pivotal Players). WordOnFire.org reaches millions of people each year. His regular YouTube videos have been viewed over 15 million times.
This video uses an analogy with the Waze App and how its traffic redirection is a great metaphor for the spiritual life. The Holy Spirit tries to guide us through life in ways that we don’t always understand, much like the Waze App. Sometimes our life gets redirected in a very frustrating way. When we don’t stop to take time to discern the working of the Holy Spirit, it can lead to more frustrating turns along our path. It is important to discern which frustrations are from the Holy Spirit and which are from the possibility of our having said “no” to the direction in which the Holy Spirit is guiding us.
Have you ever had a GPS adventure? When we first moved to our farming town we did not know we needed to select the option for no dirt roads. Within 5 minutes, we were driving through a forest on a road only wide enough for one car! It ended taking us through farm fields until we finally came to a paved road. It was exciting and scary. I was worried we would encounter a car or more likely a tractor coming the other way with no room to pass! In the end, everything was fine and we learned to set our GPS correctly.
Have you ever thought you knew better than the GPS and didn’t listen to the instructions, leading to added stress and added time to your trip? Why is it that we think we know better? It’s the same when it comes to our spiritual life. God asks certain things from us and then waits patiently for us to return to the correct path in our lives. When it comes to the spiritual life, the ability to hear and discern your actions comes mainly from prayer. Prayer will determine the relationship that you have with God and how you are able to talk to Him and be still enough to hear Him speaking to you in your life.
Consider the 3 W’s: 3 ways to reorient yourself back to hearing and discerning God’s will for your life. Do you feel lost or in some sort of spiritual exile? These suggestions can help you find your way back home!
Worship, Word, and Walls. God used this structure when reorienting the tribe of Judah after the Babylonian Exile in the book of Ezra. First Worship, then the Word of God, and finally building a Wall of community.
The role of right worship plays a huge role in our relationship to God. An examination of conscience is a good tool to see if you have negative attitudes when it comes to the Mass and to prayer. Our attitude is the basis of our freedom and our actions tend to follow our attitude.
Spending time with God’s Word is the second piece to the map when returning from spiritual exile. Taking the time to silently contemplate the Gospel can make a huge difference in your outlook on life and inwardly on how you listen to God. Lectio Divina is one way of praying the Scriptures to more fully connect with the living God. Not a way of reading for information, but rather acknowledging it as a sacred piece of Scripture through which you allow God to speak to you.
Walls: This is a slightly touchy topic in our culture right now. But these are not walls that are built to keep people out, these are the walls of the Church with which you need to reconcile. When we lose touch with our ability to discern the call of the Holy Spirit, we tend to fall into a cycle of sin. Using the examination of conscience you conducted in step one, go to Confession and allow God’s mercy to bring you back into the community. Be a part of your community and give back the graces that you have received. In the words of Bishop Barron, you will be “a conduit of God’s Grace!”