Yesterday we reflected on the life of St. Anthony of Egypt.
One of the things we mentioned was that people were attracted to him because of his moderation.
St. Anthony was certainly not one to seek the comfortable life. He left everything and went into the wilderness for a long time as a hermit in pursuit of the Christian way of life.
He came face to face with evil in the time he spent in the wilderness. He faced his shadows, his human sinfulness, and evil in the larger society.
People were impressed by how wholesome he came across, he even lived to be over a hundred years old.
So, what is moderation?
I think that it is connected, among other things, with humility.
Humility comes from the Latin world ‘humus’ which means ‘the earth’ or ‘the ground’.
Humility is about being ‘down to earth’, being real, not being fanciful.
The wisdom of balance is also part of a healthy spirituality.
Authentic spirituality is very much connected with integrity, commitment, and love.
Sometimes ‘spirituality’ minded people end up in very ‘strange’ and ‘esoteric’ places. They seem to go off on a tangent, disconnected with lived experience.
Sometimes they become obsessed with a particular ideology.
‘Spiritually’ minded people gave Jesus a hard time.
Healthy spirituality is not narrow. It is not trapped in ideology. It is not judgmental, and always acts with charity, respect, and integrity. It certainly is not wishy-washy, but neither is it fundamentalist.
Healthy spirituality is open to continue learning without ‘throwing the baby away with the bath water’.
The Incarnation of God in Jesus reveals to us that being Christian is about being fully human.
So, moderation is about wisely reflecting before we act. It is about a holistic understanding of the teaching of Christ and His Church.
It is about sincere commitment, but also being pastorally sensitive to others, meeting them where they are. It is about not being rigid and inflexible.
In Corinthians, St. Paul reminds us that sacrifice without love is useless. Faith, hope, and love are the greatest gifts. However, the greatest is love.