A shared spirituality
Spirituality defines one’s whole way of life. As such, spirituality can
be defined as a way of being, seeing and acting. What is distinctive about Christian
spirituality is that it is a way of being, seeing and acting that has its source
in, and takes its inspiration from, the person and vision of Jesus Christ. It
is a spirituality that has its source in our communion with God, and is forged
in communion with others and with all of creation. It is a spirituality of relationships.
It is not surprising therefore that the Second Vatican Council defined the essential
nature of the Church as “mystery” and also as “a sacrament …of
communion” [Lumen Gentium #1]. Thus, amidst the diversity of Christian
spiritualities, what should be common to the spirituality of all Catholics is
a spirituality of communion whose elements include:
• a belief in the Trinity of divine persons as the model
for the communion of love which the Church is called to become
• a commitment to liturgy, especially the Eucharist, communal prayer
and personal prayer
• a collaborative spirit
• an ecumenical commitment
• an inclusive attitude to the world
• a readiness to dialogue with all people of good will
• a passion for social justice and human rights
a view of the natural environment as God’s creation to be
loved and cared for.
The Gospel leads us into a real
communion – with
God in Jesus Christ and the Spirit, with our brothers and sisters
in faith (past, present and future), with all men and women, and
with the whole of creation. Thus the Church looks for the signs of
God’s presence (‘signs of the times’) in the world
and is prepared to dialogue with all. Human history and salvation
history are not separate, nor in opposition. Christ’s plan
of salvation unfolds in human history.
seek to understand the world as the meeting place between God’s purposes
and human hopes. This view of God as already in the world and the acceptance
of the need to dialogue with all people of good will are features of a spirituality
of communion and a vital aspect of the Church’s mission in the world.
Both Pope John Paul II [Novo Millennio Ineunte #43-45
] and Archbishop
Bathersby [Address, Synod Preparation Day 2] recognise that all sound pastoral
planning must be anchored in, and motivated by, a spirituality of communion whereby
the Holy Spirit calls each of us to:
• deepen our understanding of the person and
vision of Jesus Christ
• build relationships with God, our brothers and sisters within the Christian
community, and all people of good will
• engage in Christ’s mission by bringing the Gospel alive in the
everyday circumstances of our world.
Jesus said: "When it is evening, you
say, ‘It will
be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It
will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You
know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot
interpret the signs of the times."
The people of God believes that it is led by the Spirit of
the Lord who fills the whole world. Moved by that faith it
tries to discern in the events, the needs, and the longings
which it shares with other men and women of our time, what
may be genuine signs of the presence or of the purpose of God.
For faith throws a new light on all things and makes known
the full ideal which God has set for humanity ……..
[Gaudium et Spes (1965) #11]