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What is Spirituality?

What is Spirituality?

Thomas Groome in his book, What Makes Us Catholic, holds that Catholicism does not have a spirituality.  Rather, it is spirituality. Spirituality is the Catholic way of imagining reality and responding to the world with profoundly deep sense of awe and responsibility. It is a life-giving and life-inspiring approach to life. He points to the rich metaphysical, cultural and social foundation that make up the spiritual Catholic journey. He advocates that Catholic spirituality is the essence, the very core of the religion. It's what makes a Catholic Catholic. And what are some of the components of Catholic spirituality? Catholic optimism, a lust for life, the central place of gratitude, rich imagination, celebration and at the core, a sacramental view of life. Another key component is the Catholic incarnational view of life, centred in Jesus, that imbues all life with a sacredness, demanding respect, even awe. Life, then, is to be lived in and with a sense of thankfulness, wonder and respect.

The Catechism goes on to remind us:

  • 2692 In prayer, the pilgrim Church is associated with that of the saints, whose intercession she asks.
  • 2693 The different schools of Christian spirituality share in the living tradition of prayer and are precious guides for the spiritual life.
  • 2694 The Christian family is the first place for education in prayer.
  • 2695 Ordained ministers, the consecrated life, catechesis, prayer groups, and "spiritual direction" ensure assistance within the Church in the practice of prayer.
  • 2696 The most appropriate places for prayer are personal or family oratories, monasteries, places of pilgrimage, and above all the church, which is the proper place for liturgical prayer for the parish community and the privileged place for Eucharistic adoration.
  • 2720 The Church invites the faithful to regular prayer: daily prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours, Sunday Eucharist, the feasts of the liturgical year.
  • 2721 The Christian tradition comprises three major expressions of the life of prayer: vocal prayer, meditation, and contemplative prayer. They have in common the recollection of the heart.
  • 2722 Vocal prayer, founded on the union of body and soul in human nature, associates the body with the interior prayer of the heart, following Christ's example of praying to his Father and teaching the Our Father to his disciples.
  • 2723 Meditation is a prayerful quest engaging thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. Its goal is to make our own in faith the subject considered, by confronting it with the reality of our own life.
  • 2724 Contemplative prayer is the simple expression of the mystery of prayer. It is a gaze of faith fixed on Jesus, an attentiveness to the Word of God, a silent love. It achieves real union with the prayer of Christ to the extent that it makes us share in his mystery.

Click on the link to read the full section in the Catechism on Prayer.