Spirituality For Life
Page: Enlightenment

What is Spirituality?
Aspects of Spirituality
Spiritual Practices
Theology / Spirituality
Misc. Topics
Contact Us




The Sacred Word reveals that enlightenment – life with a spiritual awareness or life in the Spirit – does not come from our initiative. Our spiritual awakening is a sheer gift from God, and continues to be sustained by the graciousness of God. It is primarily God’s initiative: “It is by grace . . . and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).  


Since the initiative in the spiritual journey comes entirely from God – that is, through Jesus, since “he is the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15) – our own qualifications and worthiness are not the determining consideration. He chooses and calls us not for anything we have merited. Jesus finds and calls us to follow him where we are. He comes to meet us to call us forward into a depth of life that we had not imagined (see for example, Luke 5:1-11).  


As Jesus leads us onwards to a deeper life, he also calls us to let go of that which inhibits our freedom to follow him. These include (see Matthew 10:37-39):


§  Our illusions of ourselves. 

§  Our self-protective instincts. 

§  Our ignorance and weakness.  


To hear him, to move forward, means a “letting go” of what we have been clinging to. This can entail a certain suffering. In the tradition of Christian spirituality, this is referred to as the via negativa, the way of initial purification. It gives way, however, to the via illuminativa – an enlightenment in which the values of the gospel increasingly take possession of us. The final stage, under the influence of grace, is the via unitiva, the way of union, an experience of being one with God and sharing the divine life of communion. 


The Christian spiritual journey, then, begins in grace and leads to transformation. We are led from:


§  Fear to love 

§  Slumber to wakefulness 

§  Hardness of heart to surrender 

§  The “old self” (or false self) to the “new self” (or true self) 

§  Death to life 

§  A self-protective stance to that of self-giving and surrender 


We know we are moving in the right direction when there is evidence of the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives, identified by St. Paul: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23, NIV). 


In sum, to listen to Jesus is to be enlightened and transformed by his living presence as the Word of God. Also, we find him in the community of others who share faith, and we meet him in our suffering neighbour (in Matthew 25:40 we read these words: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” [NIV]).  


Christian spirituality, then, offers a true path of awakening and enlightenment. Since our natural sense of identity, awareness, and perception are distorted and clouded, through enlightenment we come to see ourselves and the world more clearly. 



Source: I am indebted to David Ranson, Living in the Holy Spirit (Sydney: 2008), for most of the material in this summary. 


Photo credit: Intellimon Ltd. 


Spirituality for Life
Interfaith Spirituality
Underlying Premises
What is Spirituality?
Christian Spirituality
Spirituality and Human Existence
A Broader View of Spirituality
Descriptions of Spirituality
Reaching One's Potential
Authentic Christian Spirituality
What Is Christian Spirituality
Three Elements of Spirituality
Spirituality and Religion
Community Aspect of Spirituality
The Cycle of Spirituality
Aspects of Spirituality
Forgiveness - Four Steps
Forgiveness - Vital Aspect
Forgiveness - Crucial Element
Forgiveness and Health
Forgiveness - 10 Truths
Hiddenness of God
Living with Paradox
The Paschal Mystery
The Trinity
The Triune God
Trinity Reflections
Spiritual Practices
Communing with God in Nature
A Country Garden
Sea and Sky
Spring Flowers in Australia
Sunrise and Sunset
By the Lake
By the Sea
Australian Countryside
Springtime Flowers
Spring Flowers
Country Lake
Sunrise Splendor
Late Spring Flowers
Early Light
Morning Walk
Flower Festival
Quiet Waters
Contemplative Living
Contemplative Prayer Overview
Contemplative Path
A Heart Experience
The Contemplative and Active
Lectio Divina
Christian Meditation
Meditation to Meaning
Meditation on Death
Death of Two Young Men
Mindfulness Overview
Mindfulness in Everyday Life
Prayer - Lord's Prayer
Theology / Spirituality
Introduction to Spirituality
Formative Spirituality
Prayer and Prayerfulness
Spirituality of the Heart
Spirituality of Pastoral Care
Spiritual Autobiographies
Writings on the Spiritual Life
The Psalms
Ten Genres of Psalms
God's Kingship in the Royal Psalms
Psalms-Language of Prayer
Psalms 44 and 104
Vengeance Is God's
The Hiddenness of God
Liturgical Spirituality
Liturgy and Spirituality: Definitions
Liturgical Spirituality: Implications
Anglican Spirituality
Book of Common Prayer
Ecology, Cosmology, and Spirituality
Our Picture of the Universe
Mystery at End of Universe
Evolution and God
The Scientific Priesthood
The Ecological Age
Contemporary Economic Model
Aboriginal and Biblical Creation Accounts
Aspects of Aboriginal Religion
Reflections on Nature and Spirituality
Historical Spirituality
Biblical Studies
Old Testament
Creation Theology
Notes from My Notebook
Theodicy: Evil if God Is Good?
Is Suffering from God?
Belief in a Creator God: Implications
New Testament
The Church
History of the Early Church
Mission of the Church
Christian Education
Misc. Topics
Exploring Spirituality
Timeless Spirituality
Lord's Prayer Spirituality
Spirituality and Lord's Prayer
A Spirituality Sequence
Spiritual Traditions
Spiritual Classics
Spirituality Snippets
Spirituality Quotations
Loving Kindness Meditation
Francis of Assisi Prayer
Prayer of Trust
Prayer to Perceive God
Prayer for Strength and Love
Abandonment to God
Look Well to This Day
God Is Love
New Identity in Christ
Learning and Growth
Nature of Truth
God and Creation
Anger of Another
Sacramental Life View
The Resurrection
Mystical Wisdom
Islam's Inclusiveness
Love, Joy, Obedience
Peace of Mind
Peace Versus Violence
Later Life Spirituality
Longevity and Spirituality
Thoughts about Life
Thoughts on Life and Death
Contact Us
Privacy Statement
Personal Background