I remember once when I was a teenager, a family member was driving me somewhere on the freeway. And suddenly, the truck in front of us began to drift dangerously out of its lane. My driver immediately made the sign of the cross. The truck then corrected itself.
Looking back, I’ve always been somewhat impressed by this driver, since she was able to maintain a constant spiritual alertness, such that she could instinctively react by making the sign of the cross. This has also made me wonder about my own “spirituality behind the wheel,” so to speak. More specifically, how is my spiritual life affected by my time behind the wheel?
Perhaps it is okay be a little aggressive while driving, especially if we’re in a big city. But I think it is also important for us to watch how the traffic effects our emotions. How often do we become angry and impatient while driving?
It is often said that patience is important while driving, because a lack of patience can lead to accidents. However, I think we should be patient, not only so as to avoid accidents, but even more importantly, because patience is spiritually healthy, whereas, impatience and anger are spiritually unhealthy. If we’re angry while driving, this doesn’t only put our bodies in danger, it also puts our souls in danger, because then we are not thinking with charity.
Highways and blogs are two places where we interact with people without actually seeing them face to face. Thus, in both of those cases, we have a more difficult fight against the temptation to be uncharitable. So this might be something to think about. Instead of getting angry at the person who just cut me off in traffic, perhaps I could get into the habit of praying for that person. We should practice “virtue in the car,” not only for the safety of our bodies, but more importantly, for the safety of our souls.
Perhaps we could also say a prayer before we drive. As we turn on our engine, let us reignite our spiritual alertness. As we buckle up, let us put on the “armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11). As we check our mirrors, let us watch out for spiritual hazards. God is everywhere, even in the midst of a traffic jam. So let us develop a “spirituality behind the wheel.”
Br. Patrick Rooney, O.P. | Meet the Student Brothers in Formation HERE