The preacher deplored how some people claim to be ‘spiritual but not religious’; when looking at religion with something of an outsider’s eye – as an often alienated Catholic – I have more sympathy than Father was expressing! We have to leave room for the Spirit to blow where s/he will and try not to get in the way.
Edward Thomas pointed me towards Thomas Traherne not long ago. This Meditation of his goes some way to defending the ‘spiritual but not religious’ soul. We surely cannot maintain that atheists and agnostics do not love.
Though it be a maxim in the schools that there is no Love of a thing unknown, yet I have found that things unknown have a secret influence on the soul, and like the centre of the earth unseen violently attract it.
We love we know not what, and therefore everything allures us.
As iron at a distance is drawn by the loadstone, there being some invisible communications between them, so is there in us a world of Love to somewhat, though we know not what in the world that should be. There are invisible ways of conveyance by which some great thing doth touch our souls, and by which we tend to it. Do you not feel yourself drawn by the expectation and desire of some Great Thing?
Surely the spiritual but not religious person feels so drawn? And if we church-goers are honest, at both institutional and personal levels, we have sometimes, often even, got in the way of the Spirit. Thomas Traherne’s theology of Joy seems a good way to enter the holiday month of August. Laudato Si!