There is little worse in the life of a builder or architect than to realise at the end of a contract that the building just completed does not have the proper foundations. It is probably cheaper to tear the building down and begin again than to try to shore up the original but insufficient foundations. I would like to know how much money has been spent on trying to ensure that the Leaning Tower of Pisa does not eventually topple over! Even taking into account the change in the cost of materials and wages, I would be willing to bet that the cost of the original tower has been spent many times over ensuring that it remains as one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions.
The same is true for our spiritual lives. We can take shortcuts and build our spiritual lives on foundations that are incapable of supporting a mature Christian life or we can take the time and effort and build well, from the beginning. Many newly converted or renewed Christians are so fired up that they want to launch into all sorts of ministries and service of the Kingdom of God, however, they are rarely ready for the difficulties and trials that will eventually come. For example, every seminarian will tell you that the formation for priesthood is often long and tedious, but the Church knows that the life of a priest is not an easy one and that it is necessary to test the vocation thoroughly before calling a man to priestly ordination. Ultimately, after a few years of priesthood, I think most, if not all priests are grateful for the lengthy time of discernment and formation. I know I am even to the point of thinking that it would have been good if there were a few more issues addressed or courses to be taken in my formation.
At the same time, it is important not to completely withdraw a person from ministry and service. The architect and builder always have the completed house before them in the blueprints and in their minds to encourage them towards the final goal. In the spiritual life it is healthy to have a mix of formation and ministry so that the individual does not get too inwardly focused and thus lose sight of the final goal.
Have I laid good foundations in my spiritual journey with God or was I too impatient with the basics and now find that my spiritual life rests on somewhat shaky foundations?
Jesus, you did not rush into ministry. You lived a ‘normal’ human life for about 30 years before beginning your mission in earnest. Grant me the grace to build a solid spiritual life so that the temptations of the world will not lead me astray.