As we journey through this life toward heaven, we will come across situations where we will need certain tools to overcome adversity and continue on our journey. Grace, Scripture, the Rosary, contemplative prayer, and fasting – these are all tools that we can keep in our ‘spiritual toolbox’ to overcome the hurdles that life throws at us.
Father Sam Martin was recently a guest on The Inner Life®, where he discussed the importance of building a spiritual toolbox.
“When I used to teach at the Institute for Priestly Formation, one professor would say that the more that you put in your spiritual toolbox the more situations you can handle,” said Father Martin.
So what are spiritual tools? Father Martin explained that they are “Something that helps us to grow personally, but maybe also helps us to be more available to others.”
“Where is the Lord leading us? We’re not all going to have the same tools, but there will be some basic ones – the fundamentals like prayer, fasting, and almsgiving,” he continued. “The Church has always prescribed an imitation of Christ, and to live His life you’ll have to do these things.”
And although there are some basic tools we should all have, there are some that we are called to carry because of our specific gifts or life circumstances.
“We don’t all have the same gifts and limitations,” said Father Martin. “So some are going to have a real bright mind, so to understand the Scripture and really be able to teach and share the insights they are able to receive. Some have a more contemplative bent, and they are going to really have that precious gift of silence, and will be able to teach others just by their disposition.”
But an important aspect to remember when it comes to building our spiritual toolbox is that these tools are not just to help ourselves, but they are to be used in service to others as well.
“St. Paul uses the image of one body, many parts,” explained Father Martin. “And they’re all important. So what is our part? And whatever we discover, these things are not so much for us as they are for others. We are, with God’s help, to cultivate them and to then use them generously. Otherwise they tend to atrophy if we use them to serve ourselves.”
“The tools that God give us are for our own sanctification, to grow in holiness. And part of that is giving them away to help others. The world is a better place when we do that.”
Listen to the full conversation with Father Sam Martin below: