The Imitation of Mary, by Abbe Alexander de Rouville. No sooner had the incomparable Imitation of Christ appeared than the faithful began to spontaneously wish for an imitation of Our Lady, and finally, in 1768, a monk pulled together a little powerhouse of meditation on the different mysteries and circumstances of her life, from the Immaculate Conception to her Assumption into Heaven! Click here



Do you have a "right spirit"?

Are you in balance through the Holy Spirit?

"Lord," says Psalms, "give me a new and right spirit."

This is an excellent "word" for us. The right spirit. The right stuff.

We live in a time of extremes. Look around you. Folks hover at various ends of economic, political, and religious spectra. There is radical atheism and radical Islam and Christian fundamentalism. There is anorexia; there is gluttony. We live at a time when there are people of extreme wealth ("worth" fifty billion) and extreme poverty (in Haiti, they live on what comes down to less than a hundred U.S. dollars a year).

But let's stay personal about it:

Did you know that when your spirit and body are "out of line," it leaves a space for the darkness of illness to enter?

It's like the tires on a car: let them go out of proper alignment and they wear down more quickly in one place than another.

Or look at the candles in a church:

The upright ones give light while the tilted ones burn themselves out.

Do you tilt too much one way or another?

It is a little meditation that grows the more we think of it. It is seen in the number of metaphors. We all know the expression: to right a ship.

Too often we are taking water. We also are "off base." We eat too much, work too much, want too much, drink too much, worry too much, spend too much, pray too little. We're too aloof, or, at the opposite extreme, attached in a way that is pathological. We have not found the middle ground. We haven't found the fulcrum. The devil is a man of extremes and tries to draw us to any extreme he can. Any excess.

And it can have physical repercussions. For without balance there is a "hole" in your spirit (and your spirit regulates your body).

It's like being on a tightrope: we're fine and move ahead when everything is in its place but fall when they are not, or we barely hold on. We let too many things weigh upon our shoulders. We're out of kilter. It's like a lopsided cog wheel. Part of the spirit is away from the body.

Christ can right that. Too often, our path is wrong.

We are not living in the right place. We are not waiting for the right time. We lose our center. We are not "right" with our real selves. There are those who don't exercise whatsoever -- who hardly leave the couch -- and those who work out to the extreme.

Sure, we have the right spirit by believing in Jesus. When you have Him, you have everything, in the long view.

That's all true.

But life in Christ requires action on our part and often it comes down to balance. You have the right stuff by disciplining your life (and your words and thoughts).

How often do we pray for the Spirit of Balance?

How often do we calm ourselves and seek to expel the root of tension?

Are you extreme?

Stress plus exhaustion tell us we are out of balance. So does obsession.

Seek to be even -- like Mary. Seek to be "upright." Seek the Holy Spirit. Seek Him Who has risen and is at the Right Hand of the Father.

"For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit," says Romans 14:17.

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