Earlier today, I endured a sermon from a priest which articulated why, in his opinion, the spiritual sections of bookstores made him feel angry.
The books in this section, had in the main nothing to do with being spiritual but rather more to do with a modern pre-occupation with self, more narcissism than God.
I understand his frustration and I agree with him, that for believers in God, a key element of prayer and reflection surely must be to sense that we are in the presence of God.
I am a deep believer in God, a practising cradle to grave (I anticipate the latter) Roman Catholic.
I however, have gained enormously from the spiritualism of self.
I have done all I can, to consciously keep God out of it as I have tried to re-integrate the exiled parts of myself which as far as my experience can tell, my church had no wish to acknowledge.
I believe that I have been made in the image and likeness of Christ.
My experience has been than some parts of me, are not an acceptable image and likeness of Christ and so I undertook to suppress my obvious homosexuality to ensure my survival in the family and community to which I belong.
I have come to realise that this intention to suppress my truth was my own doing and that to those people in my family and community to whom I have told my truth (including several priests) I have been received with warmth and love.
The books on my bookshelf of the non-God spiritual kind have saved me from the inner pain of rejection, guilt and deep conflict.
These books have calmed my inward storm.
They have helped me to present to the world as one no longer angry and resentful, but happily comfortable in the knowledge that my sexuality is an integral part of me.
And therefore an integral part of my own display on this earth of my being as an image and likeness of Christ.