Elements of our Spirituality

Part of my training to become a Spiritual Director was to take the Holy Cross College Course, “Nature and History of Western Spirituality”  Father Don Piraro, Director of the St. Charles Retreat Center taught the course.    He also directs the Spiritual Director Training Program . 

During this course I was introduced to the elements of spirituality as described by Irwin Holmes in his book, “A History of Christian Spirituality.  Father Don added an the last element to complete the lesson. 

Spirituality:  You live by a principle of congruence between your life and your professed beliefs, which means what’s on the inside is reflected by the outside.  What you think and believe is how you live and behave.

Elements to authentic spirituality:

1. Spirituality emerges out of God’s communication with us; his self-disclosure.  Our spirituality is always initiated by God.

2. Our response to him through he power of the Holy  Spirit resulting in a relationship that closely resembles a close friendship or that of lovers. This relationship is characterized by:

3. Prayer:  Whatever type prayer that works for us; recited traditional prayer, Centering prayer, Lectio  Divina.  Our prayer is grounded in the expectation that God speaks to us and we hear him.

4. Virtue:  We are practicing a form of self-discipline; humility, service, forgiveness, love, that helps to purge us of sin.

5. Salvation/Spiritual History:  Our relationship with God is related to our past and with our willingness to face the future with hope.  We would do well to consider our past relationship with God and to learn from it

6. Social Justice/Community:  An encounter with God will result in a concern for community and justice issues. It brings our awareness beyond our own enlightened self-interests.  To have authentic spirituality we should be concerned for others, i.e. should consist of WE, ME and THEE.

 Journaling about these elements on an on-going basis can help us to monitor our progress.  Have you written today?


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