|Spirituality For Life|
|Page: What Is Christian Spirituality|
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Of the many definitions of spirituality, Sandra Schneiders provides one of the most encompassing:Spirituality is “the experience of consciously striving to integrate one’s life in terms not of isolation and self-absorption but of self-transcendence toward the ultimate value one perceives”.
For Christians, the ultimate concern is God revealed in Jesus Christ, and experienced through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Self-transcendence moves one out of compulsive, addictive, obsessive patterns of behavior toward more healthy relationships with oneself, other persons, and God.
In short, Christian spirituality is the conscious human response to God that is both personal and ecclesial – it is life in the Spirit.
This article covers ten aspects of Christian spirituality as follows:
1. Immanence of God
2. Liberating God-consciousness
3. God’s relation to creation
5. Historical affirmation
6. Totality of Christian experience
7. Contemplation in action
8. Social justice
9. Reconciliatory approach
In sum, Christian spirituality (the spiritual life) is at the same time experiential, apostolic, sacramental, incarnational, Trinitarian, christological, ecclesial, and ecumenical.
The challenge is to maintain a balanced Christian spirituality that has a proper sense of the transcendence of God. Today, 21st-century humanity has a profound and authentic desire for wholeness in the midst of fragmentation, for community in the face of isolation and loneliness, for liberating transcendence, for meaning in life, and for values that endure.
Human beings are spirit in the world and it is through an integral Christian spirituality that their “hungering and thirsting” can be satisfied and quenched.
Sandra Schneiders, “Spirituality in the Academy”, Theological Studies 50 (1989): 684.
William Thompson, “Spirituality, Spiritual Development and Holiness”, Review for Religious 51, no. 5 (1992): 648.
Philip Sheldrake, Spirituality and History: Questions of Interpretation and Method (London: SPCK, 1991), 37.
James Bacik, “Contemporary Spirituality”, in The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, ed. Michael Downey (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1993), 220.
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