We Always Need Regular Spiritual Checkups

I received lots of messages when I clocked 50 years a few weeks ago. There were many greetings of congratulations and even some humorous messages of condolence. I also received a message of caution from a dear friend: “Now that you are fifty, please remember to have regular medical checkups.” I took special note of that last message.

We all know the value and importance of having regular medical checkups as we age. Once we have persistent symptoms of sickness, we stop self-medicating and go for a medical checkup. We seek the help of health professionals to catch and deal with any adverse medical condition before it gets out of control. 

But do we also know the value of regular spiritual checkups? Are we also prompt in responding to the presence of sin and selfishness in our lives? Are we jolted into action by the symptoms of spiritual malaise in our lives? Do we care to know the root causes of our sinful choices and how they can be eradicated immediately? Are we not more prone to take our spiritual health for granted and postpone acting to stem the growth of sinful tendencies?

2 Chr 36:16-16, 19-23 show us how sin spreads, grows, and destroys persons, relationships, and communities when we fail to have regular spiritual checkups. “In those days, all the princes of Judah, the priests, and the people added infidelity to infidelity, practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the Lord’s temple which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.”

By persisting in their sins despite the many warnings of the prophets that God sent, the people of Judah lose their independence and everything else. They lacked the strength to defend themselves against their enemies who burnt and destroyed their homes and palaces. Their beloved temple in Jerusalem was plundered and destroyed. Those who were not killed went into captivity in Babylon.

But we also see how God always acts to save His people. He would even make use of a pagan king, the Persian Cyrus, to liberate His people from Babylonian captivity and bring them back to their own country. They will also receive all that they need to rebuild their country and temple. No matter how devastated the people had become because of their sins, God never abandoned them but miraculously offered a means to save them.

Today, we are experiencing similar growth, spread, and destruction by sin in our lives and in our world. France, once proudly called the prestigious elder daughter of the Church because of her vibrant Catholic life and numerous canonized saints, recently declared the slaughter of infants in the womb a constitutional right. How an enlightened multitude can also become spiritually blind by sin.

The hands of the ordained clergy of the Holy Catholic Church are anointed and consecrated to bring new life to others through the sacraments, especially through Eucharist and Reconciliation. This same Church is now asking her clergy to extend those consecrated hands to bless people in homosexual relationships without inviting them to repentance and faith in the Gospel. This goes to show how apathetic we have become towards the spread of sin in the Church.

The destructive power of sin is evident in the many senseless acts of violence and wars in the world. How true the words of Jesus that charity dies in the human heart when sin spreads, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.”(Mt 24:12)

This is why we need serious spiritual checkups in the light of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. Only the love of God for us in Jesus Christ can save us from the deluge of sin and its destructive consequences. In the light of this love of God, we see our true sinful nature and how sin has devastated us. We grasp how hopeless we are without Jesus, the divine physician. It is only this love of God that can provide us with all that we need to respond to our personal sins and sin in the world.

The love of God saves us from our sins, “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.” We are no longer hopeless slaves and victims of sin. Divine love delivers us from all condemnation, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world may be saved through Him.”(Jn 3:14-21) We do not have to give in to any condemning thought or idea about sin in ourselves or in the world.

Not only in spiritual sickness but even in spiritual death, the merciful love of God, “even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ.” It is never too late for us to let go of sin and begin to live for God and in His Son, Jesus Christ.

Through this merciful love, we have a new hope because God has “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.” We do not have to give into despair or sadness in our struggle with sin. God is always acting to save us even as we are sick and dying in our sins.

Divine love has also offered us complete access to the “immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” Because of this divine mercy, grace, and kindness in Christ, we can “fulfill the good works that God has prepared for in advance.”(Eph 2:4-10) Like Jesus, we too can be faithful to God amid so much widespread evil.

In His merciful love for us, Jesus makes Himself present in each Eucharist. He sees our sinfulness and wretchedness. He will never abandon us in our sins or condemn us for our failures. But He will never force us to accept His love. He always comes to us as light in our dark world, offering us a chance for a truly liberating spiritual checkup. We do not have to make an appointment or have health insurance. The price has been paid already when He died for us on Calvary. We only need to approach Him with confidence in His merciful love.

Sadly, some of us will still try to avoid Him because of our sins, “The light came into the world but people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil.” Many of us will still refuse a thorough spiritual checkup with all its amazing benefits of new hope, a more fulfilled life, divine kindness, abundant graces, and unfathomable mercy.

If we still reject or refuse this merciful love, our sins will only grow, spread, and destroy us and our communities.

Glory to Jesus! Honor to Mary!

Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash

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Fr. Nnamdi Moneme OMV is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary currently on missionary assignment in the Philippines. He serves in the Congregations' Retreat Ministry and in the House of Formation for novices and theologians in Antipolo, Philippines. He blogs at  www.toquenchhisthirst.wordpress.com.

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