Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Spiritually Immature"

A couple of weeks ago someone online told me, after reading my blog, that she found me to be “spiritually immature.” I believe, from what was said, that it all went back to my headcovering series. I managed to keep from firing off a knee jerk response (“I’m not sure calling someone ‘spiritually immature’ is the most ‘mature’ response”).

Instead I took a deep breath and swallowed my pride and admitted that I do have a lot of growing to do. I then asked that she pray for me.

Did I think that she was right on the basis of her comment (my defense of headcovering as a sign of "spiritual immaturity")? No. But was the underlying claim true? Yes. I still have a lot of growing to do! I am spiritually, very much like a toddler, taking shaky steps on unsteady legs, praying that God keeps me upright!

Unsurprisingly this received no response at all (actually, the way the conversation had been headed I wouldn’t have been altogether surprised to receive another snarky comment… so I guess no response may be the best possible end result).

Perhaps that’s why, recently, I’ve noticed online accusations (towards others) of “spiritual immaturity” that got me thinking about what is being said when those words are flung around (or are at least implied).

The words themselves are kind of redundant. Most people, even people who try very hard, aren’t living lives of “heroic virtue.” The vast majority of us aren’t saints (yet). Hopefully we all will be someday. After all, the only tragedy in this life is to not become a saint.

When I hear the accusation, either said in an outright way or implied, my first thought is that while it’s a) not a very nice thing to say, it’s b) probably true and lastly c) possibly says more about the speaker than the listener since saying that someone else is “spiritually immature” gives the speaker an air of superiority that sounds suspiciously like pride.

The basic definition of “immature” is “not fully developed.” So to be spiritually immature is to be not fully developed spiritually. Can any of us make the claim of being fully developed spiritually while on this earth?

It’s hard to develop spiritually in a world where so much emphasis is placed on the physical world and the “importance” of the individual. I often feel like I’m taking baby steps on my journey and slipping and sliding backwards when I lose my temper or say something unkind.

Still I am grateful when my conscience tells me that something is wrong. That sting of conscience is preferable to the silence that this world cultivates when faced with evil.

And prayerfully, through God’s grace, may each of us grow spiritually a little more each day.

Hopefully, as we do, we can find ways to help others on their own journeys towards God, without condescending and pointing out the obvious, which in this case is a struggle that each of us must strive to overcome.


  1. Cam,
    You have actually helped me along the way in my journey since I myself is a recent covert to the Catholic church (came in last Easter)
    We all no matter the age or where we are on our journey have some growing up to do whether it is spiritually, mentally, etc. I am not the same person 10 years ago, and I am sure a lot of people can say the same.
    But I want to thank you for helping me on my spiritual journey in the Catholic church through the eyes of another convert.
    Oh and by the way, my rosary is STUNNING!! I can't keep my eyea and hands off of it. Your work is beautiful.
    Thank you,

  2. I read that post on CAF Cam I think the girl was trying to stir things up and cause a bit of an arguement. By the way I think your response was very spirtually mature ;)

  3. I can't imagine who would say they were spiritually mature. I can't even imagine the pope saying he was spiritually mature. Saints were always the first to point out their own failings and faults.

    It actually makes me wonder just what the purpose of such a phrase would be other than to point out state the obvious and possibly boost the speaker's ego.

  4. Wow, if you are spiritually immature, what does that make me?:))) I learn so much from you and I am older by probably 20 years. I find your posts have a sweet spirit about them and I am drawn to your blog for many reasons. Have a blessed day!

    Kim Chrisman

  5. Ouch... I would add to your list of what it says that it also implies that they disagree with you on whatever it is. "I don't like a b or c or believe its true so that must make me right & you spiritually immature". Not nice... and like you said says something about who said it :-(

    Good points about none of us being able to claim otherwise though. Gut reaction here to the statement is insult, but yeah...

  6. I'd rather be spiritually immature, honestly. Our Lord said, "Let the children come to me." It is with childlike confidence and faith that we learn to know, love, and serve our Lord. I think you are correct in what you say about others pointing out that someone is spiritually immature. I also read recently that it is our humiliations and faults that we should love and embrace because God gave them to us, each and every one, for the sole purpose of getting our souls to Heaven where we can be happy with Him forever. And as for the baby steps and falling back... again it is there that we've made the progress in seeing our failings. I have seen so many in myself and continue to try and get up and begin again. Our Lord knows our hearts and intentions and really He is the one who sees our true progress spiritually as we grow closer to Him.

  7. Personally, I think a woman who understands covering is more spiritually mature than most.

  8. Hi! Although we have every different beliefs we share many things in common and I found your blog when I decided to start covering. We are all trying to grow in the Lord and will never arrive! I know how hurtful it is to receive negative comments when you pour your heart out online on YOUR blog that no one is forced to read. Just wanted to say Hi and your response was very mature!

  9. I agree with what a lot of the others said...it sounds like this woman was looking to start a fight. I went on CAF recently and decided I don't if it's a place I want to spend much time. It seemed like there were so many people on there with bad attitudes and agendas! I just found you blog recently (from a post you made on CAF) and I am loving what I see. I am a new follower and glad to find another strong Catholic (Convert) woman out there. (I am a convert too, class of 2007!)

  10. Your response to that accusation is very wise. I think it also shows on your part, a real cultivation of the virtue of humility and patience. While you might have liked to come back with some witty remark, what you did say was much more charitable. I'd imagine that's probably why the commenter didn't have much of a response back!

    God Bless :)

  11. I prayed hard about this very issue after being written off as spiritually immature by other xtians at a week long university aged group camp. If these xtians who are more 'mature' than us and have the spiritual discretion they claim to possess, then they know that God holds them accountable for causing 'little ones (like me) to stumble' and lose heart in the faith when they speak with cold judgement instead of loving intent to build up and not tear down.

    Do we scold a baby for being a baby? No. God knows what stage we are in our walk with him and he knows that we grow at different rates according to his time and will.

    Anyway the answer to my prayer was the realization that ALL of us are cosmic babes in context of eternity. Yeah, what is 85 years of Christian growth compared to the billions years worth of knowledge and wisdom god has and may share with his angels who have had eternity to become smart and wise. We know nothing beyond our earthly lives. I am a spiritual cosmic baby, a worm of a thing compared to the glory of heaven. I shall smile and agree with the next xtian who accuses me of being spuritually immature. Thanks for the post! Xx


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!