Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Catholic Spirituality of Jesus

Trail at the Serra dos Órgãos via Wikimedia Commons
Today many people feel a need for spirituality. Our hearts matter most, not material things.

Our spirituality is following Jesus as a Catholic. This means an ongoing conversion and an ongoing mission to flourish humanly this best way.

Teresa of Jesus plays with images of water and of a castle. John of the Cross plays with images of mountain and night, of song and flame. These images are open and dynamic, not closed and static. They describe an adventure.

The adventure of life and history together and singly is like playing a game, traveling a road, waging a battle. This adventure involves dying to our sinful selves and rising to our graced selves for, with, like, and through Jesus. We do this in secular, monastic, and apostolic settings, in a hidden and public life, as He did with Mary and Joseph, with Peter and the other apostles, with Mary Magdalene, and with Martha and Mary of Bethany.

Jesus converts us through His Catholic Church. She is His bride and our mother and teacher. He makes us saints, His friends. He makes us a communion of saints, angels and people of heaven and purgatory and earth who are his circle of friends. His friends help us by their example, and by their prayer, and by their friendship, with thought, affection, and care.

Jesus blesses through His Catholic Church with His prayer and word and sacrament focused on His sacrifice, His offering Himself for others, for His merciful Father and for us His borthers and sisters of the human and angelic family by His Love, the Holy Spirit. He makes us more radically and fully human. He calls us each originally for and with all and each past and present and future to the ongoing conversion of following Him His Catholic way and to the ongoing mission of evangelizing others to do the same.

The game, the road, the battle of life and history together and singly is growing in the human and gospel virtues of Jesus and his friends, His saints. There are three stages in this movement: we start, we advance, and we mature through Him, like Him, and with Him and His Catholic Church for His kingdom now and always. These stages are called:
  • purgative (overcoming our sins by virtues),

  • illuminative (receiving His lights for strengthening our virtues), and

  • unitive (living in company with Jesus our brother and Lord, our friend and savior, and with His saints).
While the dimensions of sins, virtues, and union are present in each stage, usually one dimension is more dominant. There are always the storms of sins and temptations, of errors and divisions, of mistakes and failures, of disappointments and discouragements, of troubles of every kind. Yet Jesus through His Church calms us during all these storms and brings us to His shore.

We people and angels together and singly, and our earth and universe in its whole and in its parts, both now and always are from and to and for our merciful Father and His kingdom through His Beloved Word made our Jesus, speaking us and through His Love, His Holy Spirit, breathing us and His Catholic Church and communion of saints, angels and people of heaven and purgatory and earth who are friends, especially Mary and Joseph.

Father Don

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