Christian Spirituality-Part II


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The History of Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition-Part II


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Christian Spirituality:

Christian Spirituality In the Catholic Tradition Part II

The Spiritual Life:

The Spiritual Life Sacred Scripture and

The new Testament:

The new Testament

In a word…:

In a word… The entire and complete message of the New Testament can be summed up in one Greek word:

Icthus…meaning “Fish”:

Icthus …meaning “Fish” Ιησούς = ( Jesous ) Jesus Χριστός = (Christos) Christ Θεού = ( Theou ) God’s Υιός = ( Huios ) Son Σ ωτηρ = ( Soter ) Savior

Realization & Fulfillment:

Realization & Fulfillment In other words, Jesus Christ is the realization and the fulfillment of all that had been promised and signified by the word and action of God in the history of salvation from Adam to the last of the prophets. Xt is the embodiment of authentic spirituality Hence, NT spirituality is Christo-centric NT spirituality is a participation in the mystery of Xt

A caveat:

A caveat However, New Testament spirituality is NOT Christo-centric to such an extent that it fails to give proper emphasis to God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and the Trinity of Persons dwelling in the soul through grace

To know Christ:

To know Christ To participate in the mystery of XT, one must know XT So, we turn to the NT However, our goal is NOT to know XT as a historical figure Rather, we seek to know XT as he is NOW In glory at the right hand of the Father

Quo Vadis?:

Quo Vadis? “Where are you going?” The Xtian life is not the present trying to recapture the past Rather, it is the present striving to become the future Xtianity is in via On the march


Heri … Hodie … Cras What we seek in the NT is a spirituality that is valid for all persons everywhere and in every age The Gospel must be constantly inserted into the historical situation This is precisely why there is a history of spirituality and schools of spirituality

The Mystery of XT:

The Mystery of XT With the help of the NT, we contemplate the mystery of XT Then we discover how to share in it The mystery of XT is the mystery of the Incarnation, the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, the God made man

Si Deus pro nobis, quid contra nos?:

Si Deus pro nobis , quid contra nos ? The mystery of the Incarnation reveals that God is not only the transcendent and majestic God, but he is God “for us,” a God of generous love In Jesus Xt , God unites himself to our humanity and to our world so intimately and definitively that there can be no “opposition or disjunction between the glory of God, which is the ultimate end of everything, and the happiness of man or the completion of the world

The Divinization of Humanity:

The Divinization of Humanity The very mystery of the Word made flesh indicates to us how we are able to participate in the mystery of Xt By the Word becoming human, he elevates human nature to the supernatural order by “divinizing” it through its union with the divine Person. Humanity is raised from the natural order to the supernatural order

The Supernatural Order:

The Supernatural Order Hence, a correct understanding of the supernatural order is a necessary prerequisite for a correct understanding of of the spiritual life and the mystery of Xt The natural and the supernatural are intermingled in such a way that the natural is not destroyed but perfected and elevated But they are always distinct and separable

Abundant Life:

Abundant Life So, what constitutes the supernatural order? Precisely the manifestation of eternal life Entrance into fellowship or familiar and friendly relationship with God By sharing in the communication of his life and his intimate secrets

Children of the Father:

Children of the Father In substance, the divine teaching reveals that through Xt we become children of the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit “We shall understand nothing—I do not say merely of perfection, but even of simple Christianity—if we do not grasp that its most essential basis is constituted by the state of child of God, participation—through sanctifying grace—in the eternal filiation of the incarnate Word…. All Christian life, all holiness, is being by grace what Jesus is by nature: the Son of God” (Dom Columba Marmion )

The Kingdom:

The Kingdom Christ himself spoke most frequently of “the kingdom” and of entrance into the kingdom Christ often used parables to describe a kingdom that was Eschatological = pointing to a kingdom of the future Descriptive = pointing to a kingdom already present

“Thy Kingdom Come”:

“Thy Kingdom Come” Christ spoke of a spiritual kingdom In the context of the spiritual life, the kingdom of God is interior, it is within us It is capable of growth and evolution From the individual, it reaches out to all humanity, to the entire world The kingdom is life in Xt

Membership in the Kingdom:

Membership in the Kingdom Membership in the kingdom is determined by the relationship of the individual to Xt It is his rule or reign that must be established This entails a total commitment to God which admits no compromise

How to make this commitment?:

How to make this commitment? First, it is God’s kingdom. He gets to determine membership requirements Repentance of sin; acknowledgement of one’s guilt before God Liberation from sin should lead to a regeneration, a new life in God through Xt & the Holy Spirit Reception of the word of God through faith Baptism by water and the Holy Spirit

A Dynamic Reality:

A Dynamic Reality Thus, through repentance, faith and baptism one enters the kingdom of God and subjects oneself to the rule of God But entrance into the kingdom is not a static achievement It involves a new life as sons and daughters of God It also makes its demands by way of a Christian morality

Ethos vs. ethic:

Ethos vs. ethic Xt placed much greater emphasis on the interior than on the exterior But he was equally insistent that his followers must prove their faith and commitment by obedience to his commandments and by the performance of good works (Mt 19:16-22; Lk 6:43-49) It is an ethos of ever greater perfection There is no maximum There is no terminus

Be Perfect!:

Be Perfect! The Beatitudes make it clear that Xt is positing an ideal that is not fully attainable in this life It is certainly not within the grasp of man by his own natural efforts It is an ideal that is not of this world But it must be the goal of all man’s striving while he is in this world The command to be perfect is not to be understood as a precept that obliges here and now

Moving On:

Moving On Rather, “be perfect” should be seen as a principle of dynamic evolution A law of constant progress in one’s relationship with God

The NT’s Bottom Line:

The NT’s Bottom Line Conversion to God through faith and baptism in the Holy Spirit, and love of God and neighbor in the fellowship of Jesus Christ

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