I sat blissfully alone in the local coffee shop, with a hot espresso and a fancy breakfast sandwich on the way. It’d been months since I last had a morning out to myself. My soul craved the silence and stillness and change of pace. Indulging with a breakfast treat wasn’t too shabby, either.
After the barista left my food, I opened to the readings for today. Saint Paul’s words stirred me with comfort and joy, giving words to memorize into prayer: “May our Lord Jesus . . . encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
I sipped my espresso and let out a contented sigh.
And then Jesus' words hit my heart: “You cleanse the outside of the cup…but inside [you] are full of … self-indulgence . . . .” (Matthew 23:25) I had a breath-catching heart-check moment.
Am I a hypocrite, sitting here penning pretty words about the spiritual life after Instagramming my espresso?
The honest answer is probably “yes.” I want to show my best side, live my best life, earn the accolades for a job well done. Certainly my frequent use of Instagram borders on self-indulgence, as I restlessly pursue satisfaction from something that will never satisfy. I want to have a “shiny exterior,” which isn’t necessarily bad, except when that happens in lieu of a heart turned to Christ. Yes, hypocrisy is a fault of mine.
So what is a gal like me to do? How do I turn my restless self-indulgence into something more productive and in the pursuit of holiness?
Our Saint for today, Saint Augustine, knows the struggle. Augustine abandoned the faith his mother Saint Monica passed on to him. He lived a life chasing pleasures and self-indulgences while never finding satisfaction or peace. After his conversion, he reflected that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. It is in Saint Augustine’s example that I find an answer to my question. Yes, I need to watch my use of social media, how I portray myself, and what I eat and drink. More than that, I need to first turn my heart to God, who alone can satisfy my soul’s deepest desire for joy and love and happiness. In God alone will I find the guidance to cleanse my heart and transform my life from the inside out.
Pray with me today, this beautiful prayer from Saint Augustine. Allow the Holy Spirit to move in your life and strengthen you in every deed and word.
"Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy. Amen." (source)
Praying this prayer, let your heart really truly open to the Holy Spirit to infuse every inch of your life.
Gina Fensterer is a Colorado native at heart, but the West Coast beach life suits her just fine. She currently lives in small coastal area of California with her husband and six children. She loves the Jesus prayer, coffee at any time of day, homemade salsa, photography, and sleepy toddler snuggles. You can find out more about her here.