“Is bread the better for kneading? So is the heart. Knead it then by spiritual exercises; or God must knead it by afflictions.” ~ Augustus Hare …
When bread is kneaded, the flour and the water is mixed together so as to allow the proteins in the flour to expand and give the bread its texture. Through this preparation, bread is essentially “made better.” Likewise, our hearts need preparation too, so that they may be “made better.” We will face difficulties; and if we prepare our hearts daily, they will not overwhelm us.
So what are spiritual exercises? They are simply exercises that strengthen our hearts and souls–something as simple as offering a kind smile or gesture to others, or spending time in reflection and prayer or reading spiritual texts. Spiritual exercises enable us to keep the well of our hearts full.
However, if we fail to tend to our spiritual selves regularly, we will eventually find ourselves being prepared through the afflictions we are faced with. This is probably the most common occurrence for the majority of us: at some point, we find ourselves overwhelmed and shaken to the core. And through the sufferings and difficulties we are faced with, we discover the depths of our hearts–we find faith, we embrace hope, and journey towards God.
Just as physical exercise is important for our health and growth, continual spiritual exercise is vital to our souls. Seek it out fervently. Foster your appreciation for life, and develop an understanding of what lies within your heart.
Perform several spiritual exercises.
Questions to consider:
Why do we often neglect “kneading our hearts?”
What are some of the benefits of developing tour heart through spiritual exercises?
Name a few of your favorite and most effective spiritual exercises?
For further thought:
“Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” ~ Eckhart Tolle