Introduction to spirituality


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A general introduction to spirituality as a theological field of study and for spiritual formation.

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Introduction to spirituality

  1. 1. Introduction to Spirituality Dr. Gilberto Cavazos-González, OFM Professor of Spirituality Unless otherwise noted all images used in this presentation are public domain and found on Wikimedia Commons.
  2. 2. Before you continue thisreview of the definition ofSpirituality think about thefollowing … What is Spirituality? What makes it Christian? Image is my own © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  3. 3. Understanding SpiritualityI often ask people at my presentations, classes or retreats to do the previous exercise individually and then in groups. It surprises me how few people actually think of spirituality as having something to do with spirit and yet the word begins with spirit. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  4. 4. Understanding Spirituality More often than not people speak of spirituality as having to do with relationship; relationship with God, the sacred, divinity or some higher power; relationship with self; relationship with neighbor and finally relationship with creation. Many people also associate spirituality with finding meaning in life or developing a world view. A few people talk about spirituality and the move from interiority to exteriority. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  5. 5. Understanding Spirituality Christians often use religion and/or religious experience as part of their definitions. Some people insist on being spiritual and not religious, which I consider an impossibility. Personally I think of a spirituality as the heart of a religion, faith or way of life. Spirituality nurtures religion and religion develops and forms spirituality. Spiritual people may not be part of an institutionalized religion but they cannot help being religious. Religiosity, and religion like spirituality are all ultimately about relationship. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  6. 6. A Christian DefinitionAlthough the word “spirituality” neverappears in the Old or New Testaments forChristians spirituality is biblically defined as“life in the s/Spirit” with all of life‟s internaland external reality and relationships. * By s/Spirit I am referring to both the human spirit and the Holy Spirit © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  7. 7. Which spirit? If spirituality is life in the spirit or better life guided by the spirit, the question remains… Which spirit is doing the guiding. – Is it your human spirit? – The Holy Spirit? – A political or team spirit – Demonic spirits – Etc. etc. Let’s consider the history of the term… For more information follow hyperlinks underlined in light blue. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  8. 8. The Term Hebrew Scripture: ruah Christian Scripture: pneuma; pneumatikos Latin root: spiritus; spiritualis Pauline spirituality: Christians are “pneumatic” © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  9. 9. The Term © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  10. 10. The Term The term “spirituality” in English has been around for about 70 to 80 years and has slowly entered popular language since the late 1950s. “Espiritualidad” in Spanish and other Romance languages has been around since the 1500s but those words have only recently become popular. Spirituality and espiritualidad have the same Latin root: spirare. Spirit (the noun) comes from the verb to breathe or to blow. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  11. 11. The Term Spirare becomes spiritus which is the translation of the Greek pneuma (air-filled). Pneuma in turn translates the Hebrew ruah, which means air or breath (of life). For early Christians this ruah was the Spirit of God that filled their own spirit, and as such all Christians are pneumatikoi or spiritualis. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  12. 12. The Term All Christians are called to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” And so, Bp Faust in the 5th century writes we need to “age ut in spiritualitate proficias” (“then act [so as to grow] in spirituality”). Spiritualitas or spiritualitatis is a Christian word coined to speak of our life in the Spirit of God. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  13. 13. History of the Term The word spiritual (pneumaticos) was used byPaul to speak of anything under the influence of theHoly Spirit. 1 Cor 2:14-15. Paul speaks of thepneumatic person as the one who is guided by theSpirit of God, while the natural person is the onewho is not gifted with the Holy Spirit. Paul himself never spoke of spiritualityrather he spoke of Christian life as beingspiritual or (Holy) Spirit-filled. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  14. 14. Spiritus Theterm "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally Gods breath, the divine Spirit. (CCC* 691)  * Catechism of the Catholic Church © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  15. 15. History of the TermIt is important to grasp that, in Paulinetheology, „Spirit‟ and „spiritual‟ are notcontrasted with „physical‟ or „material‟ (forwhich the Greek word soma, in Latin corpus,is the root) but rather with all that is opposedto the Spirit of God (for which the word sarx,in Latin caro, is used). (Sheldrake, 42) List of soma and sarx used in the Christian Scripture. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  16. 16. “Spirituality refers to: 1) afundamental dimension of humanbeing; 2) the full range of humanexperience as it is brought to bearon the quest for human integrationthrough self-transcendence; 3) theexpression of insights about thisexperience; 4) a disciplined study” Michael Downey Understanding Spirituality 43. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  17. 17. “Spirituality is the corazón in which the soul nurtures andcares for both the spirit and the corporality that make it a person.” Gilberto Cavazos-González, OFM. “Spirituality.” Miguel A. De La Torre, ed. Hispanic American Religious Cultures, vol. 2. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO 2009, 756. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  18. 18. Describing Spirituality I am a spiritualogian, (a theologian dedicated to thestudy of spirituality). As I listen to people speak ofspiritual, I realize that when we use the word“spirituality,” we are not always talking about the samething. There is no one definition of spirituality that willsatisfy everyone‟s personal or communal experience. When speaking of spirituality, we are speaking in avariety of understandings. Gustavo Gutierrez speaks ofthree, Michael Downey speaks of four and I like to thinkthere are five ways in which we speak of spirituality.* *Based on the work of G. Moioli, Michael Downey, Gustavo Gutierrez, Sandra Schneiders, Joann Wolski, Walter Principe, and Richard Woods © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  19. 19. 1) a fundamental dimension of humanbeing; 2) the full range of humanexperience as it is brought to bear onthe quest for human integration throughself-transcendence; 3) the expressionof insights about this experience; 4) adisciplined study” Michael Downey Understanding Spirituality 43. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  20. 20. We can speak of spiritualityOntologically: Homo Spiritualis Fundamental dimension of being humanExperientially: Homo Viator Life in relationship and growthClassically: Homo Religiosus Tradition and wisdom of a communityScientifically: Homo Sapiens Academic Study with subject and methodsArtistically: Homo Creativus Grace/Discipline for wholistic formation
  21. 21. Four Understandings of Spirituality Existential Classical Scientific O 1. Tradition 1. Doctrine; 1. Experiential N 2. Personal yet not theology; dogma T 2. Conversion 2. Pneumatology O individualistic 3. Hagiogrpahy 3. Direction L 3. Communitarian; 4. Morality and O 4. Charisms social and Mysticism 5. Asceticism and G 5. Mystical inculturated Prayer I Union 4. Saints, Founders 6. Secondary C A and Schools that disciplines 7. Spiritual progress L emphasis certain and growth valuesTogether theyare formational © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  22. 22. Spirituality is an Art According to the Nahuatl, the Artist is the True Theologian, because s/he can inspire, move and lift us up in ways doctrine cannot. Ask yourself: –What makes a good artist? –What does good art do for the viewer? © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  23. 23. Spirituality as an Art  Like every artform Spirituality requires talent and training. If you want to become a spirtitual master you need to have and respect both. Talent and training can be seen as follows… © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  24. 24. Spirituality is an Art Talent Training Gift  Sacrifice Grace  Action Divine intervention  Human Endeavor Contemplation  Apostolic Activity Interior Life  Exterior Living Receptive Active © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  25. 25. Spirituality is an Art Talent TrainingSpirituality is a gift from God that requires study, practiceand discipline in order to be fruitful. It requires that thepractioner be both receptive and active, contemplative andapostolic.Spirituality is a self-implicating art that builds on the God-given talents of the artist who apprentices him/herself to aMaster and a School in order to develop the skills athis/her disposal. Such an artist will paint and studypainting till s/he becomes the painting itself. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  26. 26. Spirituality is an Art Talent TrainingIn Christian Spirituality the Master is Christ, Jesusand the School is the Church. The skills andtalents of the artist are the gifts of the Holy Spirit.The painting in meant for God and neighbor. Thepainting is the w/holiness of the artist. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  27. 27. Describing SpiritualityMy five understandings in relation to Downey’s four. Michael Downey Ontological: Homo Spiritualis Spiritual Experiential: Homo Viator Anthropology Lived Spirituality Classical: Homo Religiosus Wisdom Traditions Scientific: Homo Sapiens Academic Discipline Artistic: Homo Creativus © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  28. 28. Describing SpiritualityThere are five ways to understand spirituality.These are1. Ontological: the fundamental Dimension of being human as Homo Spiritualis (spiritual being)2. Experiential: the lived experience of being in relationship as an Homo Viator (being on the way)3. Classical: Cultural and Religious traditions arising from the experience of being Homo Religiosus (being in binding relationships) © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  29. 29. Describing SpiritualityThe previous three are the most common understandings people use to speak of spirituality, but some people (scholars and mentors0 also think of spirituality as4. Scientific: an Academic Study with its own subject and methods used by the Homo Sapiens (being that seeks knowledge)5. Artistic: Involves talent and training in a certain school/movement by an Homo Creativus (being that creates) © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  30. 30. Before continuing consider the following questions Who are you spiritually? How does your location affect your spiritual life? What burning issues do you bring to the spiritual life? © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  31. 31. Christian Spiritual Life I believe that ultimately, spirituality is an art form that requires the grace given us by God as well as our desire to become spiritual masterpieces. For Christians Spirituality is about spiritual growth and formation because in our baptism we are invited to age ut in spiritualitate proficias (act so as to grow in spirituality). I would like to list 12 things that I believe important to the Christian Spiritual formation of many contemporary audiences. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  32. 32. Guiding Principles of the Christian Spiritual LifeBased on the Work of Michael Downey, Understanding Christian Spirituality 1) Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity 2) Finding God in the Cotidiano 3) Confidence in God’s Plan of Salvation 4) Communion with God’s household 5) Apostolic and Contemplative life 6) W/Holistically Christ-centered © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  33. 33. Guiding Principles of the Christian Spiritual Life7) Fidelity to reality8) Justice, Peace and the Stewardship of Creation9) Interreligious & Multicultural Dialogue10) Combat Narcissism, Pragmatism, and Boredom11) Signed with the Cross12) Kerygmatic Evangelization © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  34. 34. Christian Spiritual Life1. Indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity: Although Christ-centered, the Disciple recognizes her/himself not just as a follower of Jesus, the Son of God but also a child of God the Father/Mother and one gifted by the Holy Spirit. The Disciple dwells in the Triune God and God in him/her.2. Finding God in the Cotidiano: The Disciple recognizes God everywhere and at every moment. Though s/he cannot always focus her/his attention on God, s/he is aware of God‟s presence and action in the cotidiano. The cotidiano is the day in, day out routine of life with all its ups and downs seen as divinely infused. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  35. 35. Christian Spiritual Life3. Confident in God‟s Plan of Salvation: The Disciple sees her/himself as the recipient of a long history and tradition of God‟s action in the world (Plan of Salvation). S/he knows that they have been traditioned into the faith and in turn tradition others.4. Communion with God‟s household: Good Disciples are active members of the communion of Saints, praying for the saints on earth and in purgation while at the same time honoring and imitating the Saints in heaven. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  36. 36. Christian Spiritual Life5. Apostolic and Contemplative life: Good Disciples live the Apostolic Demands and Contemplative desires of their lives in creative tension. They have an intentional/intensive life of prayer that compels them into Ministry/Social Action which in turns sends them back to prayer (reflection, meditation and contemplation).6. W/Holistically Christ-centered: With Paul, the Disciple can say “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (in every part of me and in my every moment). Christ-centeredness permeates the whole Christian in her/his context. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  37. 37. Christian Spiritual Life7. Fidelity to Reality: Discipleship happens in reality; in the here and now. Christian spirituality needs to be informed by the Sacred Scripture, daily life, mass media and other avenues to real life.8. Justice, Peace and Stewardship of Creation: Good disciples exercise both the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, struggle for a more just and peaceful world order as well as take care of the earth and sky. Christian spirituality is socio-implicating in its relationships and care for the other. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  38. 38. Christian Spiritual Life9. Interreligious & Multicultural Dialogue: Christian Disciples are open to learning about God and life from other religions and cultures. Discipleship implies Inculturation of the Gospel; an inculturation led and nurtured by God‟s own Spirit.10. Combats Narcissism, Pragmatism, and Boredom: Good disciples fight the 3 things that oppress humanity most; the selfish behavior of narcissism, the inhumanness of pragmatism and boredom which leads to a multitude of sins. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  39. 39. Christian Spiritual Life11. Signedwith the Cross: The Christian Spiritual life begins and ends with the cross of Jesus Christ and every other cross. It allows the Spirit of God to take the cross of human suffering and transform it into the Sign of Glory in Resurrection to new life.12. Kerygmatic Evangelization: Discipleship implies being called and sent like the Apostles and early Disciples. In both word and action the Christian faithful of every denomination extend the invitation of Christ to everyone they meet. © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  40. 40. The Goal of the Christian Spiritual Life isto grow in conformity to Christ, Jesus. “See how God differs from humanity… TheCreator is always the same, but those who arecreated must pass from a beginning andthrough a middle course, a growth, andprogression. And it is for this progress andincrease that God has formed them, accordingto the word of Scripture, “Increase andmultiply’” (Ireneaus of Lyons, Adv Hear., 4,11) © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)
  41. 41. Sources Downey, Michael, Understanding Christian Spirituality (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press 1997). Maddox, Randy, "Spirituality and Practical Theology: Trajectories Toward Reengagement," APT Occasional Papers 3 (Spring 1999). McGinn, Bernard, “Introduction” in Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, and Jean Leclercg [Eds.] Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company 1985) xv-xxiii. Secondin, Bruno, Spiritualità in dialogo. Nuovi scenari dell’esperienza spirituale (Milano: Pauline 1997). Secondin, Bruno,”Introduzione generale” in Bruno Secondin and Tullo Goffi [Edd.] Corso di spiritualità: esperienza – sistematica- proiezioni (Brescia: Queriniana 1989). Sheldrake, Philip, Spirituality & Histroy: Questions of Interpretation and Method (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 1998). Cavazos-González, Gilberto, Beyond Piety The Christian Spiritual Life, Justice and Liberation (Eugene OR: Wipf & Stock 2010). © Gilberto Cavazos-G (2012)