Here’s an interesting fact: it takes hundreds of pumps in the New York City subway system to keep water out of the tunnels. If those pumps did not receive regular maintenance and if they suddenly stopped working, the subway tunnels would be flooded within thirty-six hours. Thirty-six hours! That’s a lesson on how important maintenance is for keeping things functioning well.
Cars deteriorate without regular maintenance. That’s why we routinely change the oil and filters, check the tires, and take the car to a mechanic if it starts making a funny noise. What would happen to your house if you didn’t repair a small leak in the roof, replace a faulty window, or check on your furnace? I admire the pilots who fly all our airplanes, but I equally admire all the mechanics who do the maintenance on those planes. In addition to cars, houses and planes, human beings need maintenance too. And so we brush and floss our teeth, shave, wash our hair, file our nails, exercise, eat healthy food, get a flu shot, and see our doctor regularly.
Our spiritual life needs regular maintenance too. There are many small things we can do on a consistent basis that can help keep our faith healthy and strong. One aspect of our spiritual maintenance is, of course, prayer. This means we direct our mind and heart to God each day. We remind ourselves that God is “in the mix” of all that is happening in our life. Going to church regularly is another part of the maintenance plan for our faith. Some people go to church only on special occasions or when their lives are falling apart. It’s important that we attend church even on ordinary Sundays and when our lives are going well. Faith is not just for special times or hard times; it’s for all times.
We maintain ourselves spiritually also by reading scripture—especially the psalms, the gospels, and those letters to the early Christian community. We read other spiritual things too. The fact that you are reading this blog entitled “Celebrating Everyday Spirituality,” is a good sign that spiritual maintenance is already a part of what you do. We nourish our faith also by receiving the sacraments—especially the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Another vital way we maintain our faith is by doing loving things. Every time we love we are strengthening our faith in God. Our loving can take many forms: caring for children or grandchildren, showing affection to our spouse, assisting a neighbor in need, contributing to a worthy cause, working conscientiously at our job, volunteering in our church or somewhere else, visiting someone in a nursing home, taking the dog for a walk, speaking respectfully of others, emailing a friend who is struggling, praying for people in need.
What are some of the things you do as part of your “spiritual maintenance”?