Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christian Spirituality

The spiritual column in the Peace Weekly reminds us we  live in relationships with others. We might think we are called as individuals for the spiritual journey but that is not the case. Relating with others is the way we grow in the practice of virtue and in the spiritual life.

He reminds us of the first Christians whose spirituality was relating with the other members of the community. "They spent their time in learning from the apostles taking part in the fellowship and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers" (Acts. 2:42). They partook of the Eucharist  and maintained the unity of their oneness with Jesus.

One of the early Church  Fathers Ignatius of Antioch in his letters to the communities stressed their oneness with the bishop and the importance of their relationship with one another. "It is therefore, befitting that you should in every way glorify Jesus Christ who has glorified you, by a unanimous obedience, you may be perfectly joined in the same mind, and in the same judgment, and may all  speak the same thing concerning the same thing and that, being subject to the bishop and the presbytery you may in all respects be sanctified" (Letter to the Ephesians Ch. 2). 

He gives us the story of St, Francis of Assisi who gave everything he possessed back to his father and was covered by the mantle of the bishop, symbolizing  his oneness with the bishop and the community. At that time, many were leaving the Church but Francis embraced it more firmly in its poverty. 

St.Ignatius of Loyola in the Spiritual exercises  also stressed the obedience to the Church. He was one who wanted his followers to think like the Church. Bernard, Charles Andre  who taught spirituality at the Gregorian in Rome in the present times also stressed the need for those on the spiritual path to be related closely to the Church and its teachings.

The column concludes with a look at shamanism and the influence it has on Koreans. Folkways in Korea will show us the desire of many to go at spirituality as loners, but that is not the spirituality that is Christian, but we find many who find this more attractive in their way of thinking. Christian spirituality is through the Church, with the Church and in the Church.

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