Receptive Spirituality: It’s Not About You!

illustration of Mary with Child Jesus by Marina Seoane © Loyola Press. All rights reserved.

I came across an online advertisement for life coaches that emphasized in big letters, “It’s about time you had someone focus entirely on you!”  The ad goes on to say that, “You will be the center of attention of your life coach because life coaching is all about you!”

Talk about narcissism!

We sometimes bring this approach to our spiritual lives. I’ve often reminded students and their parents, especially when preparing for the sacraments, that “This is not about what you’re doing but about what God is doing in your life!”

We often think that First Communion, Confirmation, Matrimony, and Holy Orders are all about the individual receiving the sacrament. How often do we say about a bride, “This is her day,” or of first communicants, “This is their day”? Scripture reminds us that, “This is the day that the LORD has made; / let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

The first step to a healthy spirituality is to recognize that it’s all about what God is doing in my life and in the lives of others. My role—our role—is to respond to God’s action.

There’s no such thing as being proactive in spirituality. To be proactive is to initiate action. God has already taken the initiative. It’s up to us to respond.

Our model in all of this is Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who, even though she was chosen to bear the Son of God into the world, responded by magnifying, not herself, but God!

As catechists, we help those we teach to recognize God’s action in the lives of God’s people and to respond as Mary did, by giving praise to God and by bringing Christ to others.

About Joe Paprocki 2736 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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