Exercising Spiritual Muscles

By Joe Bruglio

Years ago, when I first took Spiritual Autobiography, I was at the beginning of my “return” to faith after being absent for 8 years. I was church shopping and found an Episcopal Church. It was close enough to my Catholic roots that it felt familiar, but it’s inclusivity made me feel at home. Deciding I liked it, I committed to weekly worship and wanting to take it a step further, I soon started volunteering. This led to my wanting to deepen my faith, so I signed up for Spiritual Autobiography, not really understanding what it was all about, but knowing I was ready to exercise some spiritual muscles that had been dormant.

And it was a life-changing experience. Opening up and sharing my personal story helped me to put the pieces of my faith journey together up until then at least. I was also ready to be completely honest with who I was and the mistakes I had made in my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. In turn, by listening to others and hearing their stories, the class solidified for me that we were all in this together. I came to trust in the notion that we humans are just trying to figure this out, and that’s best done in community. It was very affirming and empowering. Hearing other people share their stories helps to establish a deep trust within our group. At times it was very moving, and there were moments of tears. How God touches each of our lives is different, and the story of how it happens is always interesting. Everyone has their own spin on what they believe, why things happen, and how it’s led them here.

I have done it twice, and each time I learn something new about myself and God, and each time I make new connections and friendships. I may not see or speak to everyone today, but I know that if I were to see any one of them, there’s a special bond we’ve shared that will always be there.

Having said all of this, it’s an experience that’s hard to fully describe. It always feels short-changed when I try to explain it. So if you have been thinking about it, I suggest you try it, you won’t be disappointed.

Spiritual Autobiography is a 5-week series during Lent when we take some time to reflect on our spiritual journey, share our faith experiences, and hear the stories of others. It’s a powerful and transformative experience that is hard to put into words. And so we’ve asked past participants to share their experience in the hope that it will encourage you to give it a try as well. (Sign up or more info here.) 

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