A working spirituality needed PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 13 August 2015 10:56



Yes, indeed! We need to have a functioning spirituality, not just a theoretical one, an armchair type of religiosity that´s rich only with words and ideas, but very poor in action. Regardless of our condition in the world, we should have a genuine spirituality that consistently nourishes our spiritual life whatever the circumstances in our life may be.

Our problem is that even among those who are supposed to be ¨spiritual¨ already because of their status in life—like priests and others supposedly active in Church affairs—there is so much ignorance, confusion, error, incompetence, inconsistency, pretension, hypocrisy, laziness, complacency in this regard.

Part of a working spirituality should be a kind of mechanism, embedded into our personal system, that continually addresses these dangers all of us are exposed to and even prone to.

To achieve this spirituality, we have to devise a realistic plan of spiritual life, consisting of practices of piety, well-defined yet flexible to varying circumstances, that would help us at least to stay in touch with God even as we get immersed in the things of the world.

We should already outgrow any doubt, fear or allergy to this possibility of us living with God. It´s amazing that even among those expected to lead the way in spiritual life, these doubts and fears still hold sway, thereby spreading an atmosphere of uncertainty and a sense of impracticability insofar as spiritual life is concerned.

First, we have to be clarified about why there´s a need for spirituality. There are many people who are not clear about this reality of our life. They think we are just entirely or mainly material beings, or simply cultural ones subject to certain conditionings, and nothing more.

We can get some ideas from St. Paul who once said, ¨May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.¨ (1 Thes 5,23)

In this Pauline description, man is pictured as composed of ¨body¨ which is our corporeal and earthly condition, ¨soul¨ which is our capacity to feel and know, and ¨spirit¨ which is what makes us attracted and united to God and vivified by him.

There may be a variety of other descriptions about the structure and constituent composition of our being, but what should not be ignored is that we have a spiritual ¨component,¨ so to speak, that is integral and essential to our being. Yes, there can be diversity in our ideas of spirituality, but in the end we have to acknowledge its basic unity.

And just as we have to take care of our body, of our emotional, psychological and mental well-being, we also need to take care—in fact, even greater care—of our spiritual life, since that is what brings us to our human and Christian perfection. We have to put a stop to the ignorance and indifference that commonly besets our attitude toward our spiritual life.

Using our Christian faith, we need to know the nature of this spiritual life, what its important elements are, its characteristics, its foundations and purpose, its functionings, etc. Then we need to know how to develop it toward its full perfection.

Again, for this, we already have in the course of Christian history a vast array of spiritualities that can be useful to us. We just have to mine this thick vein and rich ore of information. With our new technologies, we have less reason not to know. What simply is needed is the so-called ¨political¨ will, putting all our faculties into the act.

Imagine the wealth contained in the age of the Church Fathers, to the monastic period, to the period of the mendicant orders of St. Francis and St. Dominic, the post-Tridentine period dominated by the Jesuits, and the post-Vatican II period up to the present!

It´s a shame that in spite of this great wealth, the general literacy of people on spirituality is way below the passing grade. If ever there is some stirring of spirituality, it´s usually found in confined and highly-localized places. It´s not yet globalized. No wonder we are vulnerable to the many temptations of the world that now are becoming systemic.

We should realize the importance of some practices of piety essential in any plan of spiritual life: mental prayer, Holy Mass, communion, visit to the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual reading, examination of conscience, holy rosary, confession, etc. Perhaps with the help of a spiritual director, we should devise one fit for us, given our personal circumstances.