Monday, May 18, 2015

Catholic Spirituality

A professor who teaches spirituality in the department of Catholic University writes in the Peace Weekly about his talks, which he gives on Spirituality, and on every occasion he mentions the Gallup survey that was made in 2004.

One of the questions on the survey was why do Catholic's believe. Our professor was surprised  that  73% of the respondents wanted peace of mind. He admits that the survey is not a specialized study but it does give an indication of the thinking of the Catholics and a great majority have accepted religion for peace of mind. The real reason one accepts religion should be eternal life here and hereafter,  but only 5 percent gave this as an answer. In his talks he wants the audience to think about their responses.

Last  year a similar survey was made, 10 years after the first one, with a slight  change in the results. This time 63% wanted peace of mind, and those who were looking for eternal life rose to 12%. How much of the change were  because of his efforts, he leaves as a question, but he thinks Pope Francis' visit had something to do with the change. But still we have a problem with the thinking of our Catholics.

 Those with no religion believe that 60% of religious people are looking for peace of mind, and  presume that 14 %  are looking for eternal life-- similar to  the Catholics' answers.  With this kind of thinking the priest wonders whether spirituality and psychology become one. Of course he agrees that this was not absent from our history of spirituality but it was secondary.

Peace of mind is offered outside religion where  spirituality is replaced by  psychology. Searching for peace of mind has nothing to do with religion, and can be found in all areas of life outside of religion--  not the way we arrive at a Catholic spirituality.

As Catholics we are looking for salvation to be with God now, and for all eternity.This is the makeup of    the spirituality we choose, and not looking for peace from the blessings of this world.

We have been called to have the joy that was in Jesus and to imitate him. We are called to mission which is the spirituality we want.The peace of mind is a by-product and not motivating force. If we  consider only our needs and desires we become selfish, and forget why we have been called, and make religion a means and not an end. We have been called to be like Christ and to love as he did.                                                                                                      

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