Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Devotion

The word “devotion” is derived from the Latin devitio for “allegiance,” “loyalty,” or “vow.” It is total dedication. When we are devoted to someone or something, we pledge our fidelity and love. Spiritual traditions tutor us in many ways to practice our devotion. Buddhists sit in silence or chant. Hindus offer sacrifices in temples. Sufis whirl. Native Americans dance. Catholics pray with rosary beads. Some Christians fold their hands, while others open their arms. Jews bow repeatedly. Muslims bow toward Mecca several times a day. The devotional act becomes a sacred link to the Divine.

No matter what we do as a devotional practice, it must be done on a regular basis. Devotion is not something that is done once a week. Nor is it reserved only for religious holidays. And it’s not just a response to life-altering events in our lives. As a spiritual practice, it takes commitment and self-discipline. It becomes an act that recharges our spiritual batteries as we demonstrate our love for the Divine. The act becomes a prayer, no matter how it is expressed.

When we practice the mindfulness of devotion, we find that everything we see, hear, touch, or taste -- everything we do and think -- becomes a living prayer, whether done formally or informally. Episcopal priest Matthew Fox tells us that activities such as yoga, tai chi, and making love are all examples of prayer. Any activity to which we devote our time and love -- preparing a meal for a sick friend, watching nature’s creatures through the window in the early morning hours, cultivating a garden, losing oneself in a symphony -- is prayer in motion. It is these acts that feed the soul and invite the spirit to grow.

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