Spirituality defines one’s whole way of life. − a way of being, seeing and acting.
Christian spirituality is inspired by the person and vision of Jesus Christ. It has its source in our communion with God and is forged in communion with others and with all of creation. It is a spirituality of relationships.
Synod Story, 2006
Characteristics of a Catholic Christian spirituality also include:
- A belief in the Trinity as the model of communion between people
- A commitment to liturgy, especially the Eucharist, communal and personal prayer
- A spirit of collaboration
- An ecumenical commitment to unity
- An inclusive attitude to the world
- A readiness to dialogue with all people of goodwill
- A passion for social justice and human rights
- A view of the natural environment as God’s creation to be loved and cared for
Catholics understand the world as the meeting place between God’s purposes and human hopes. God’s Holy Spirit is already in the world and embraces the need to dialogue with all people of goodwill. This spirituality has been captured in the vision of the archdiocese which challenges us to follow Christ and proclaim the Kingdom of God by,
celebrating God in our lives
sharing our living faith
growing in community and
working for justice and peace.
There are many different expressions of Catholic spirituality that have developed over the past 2000 years. These reflect the charism of founders of religious orders who developed their own way of approaching God in prayer and of living the Gospel.
Some of these spiritualities include:
Desert –solitude, asceticism, sacrifice and centring prayer, meditation on a single, sacred word.
Benedictine –life in community, order and obedience to superiors. Lectio Divina, is a Benedictine prayer form based on reflection on the Word of God.
Franciscan – poverty, love of nature and giving to those in need. Franciscan prayer rejoices in God’s presence in the wonder of creation.
Dominican –poverty, preaching and devotion to truth. As a simple way of proclaiming the truths of the faith, the Rosary is an example of Dominican spirituality since it focuses on the mysteries of Christ’s life.
Ignatian –daily examination of one’s life, discerning the will of God and living the Resurrection. The Spiritual Exercises are the Ignatian prayer form that focuses on this examination of conscience and the discernment of God’s action in one’s life.
Carmelite –interior detachment, silence, solitude and mystical experience. The “dark night of the soul” describes the need for spiritual purification before entering into divine union with God.
Josephite –simplicity, perseverance and care for the poor. Josephite prayer reflects trust in God’s provision to care for those in need. More .
Local, lay, contemporary expressions
Spirituality for Catholics is a call to holiness in the context of their ordinary lives − family, neighbourhood, workplace and parish. Since the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) a large number of contemporary lay spiritual movements have emerged. These call for a deep interior relationship with God through prayer and a commitment to the works of justice and mercy.
Some of these movements active within the archdiocese include:
Catholic Charismatic Renewal− seeks to foster an awareness of the gift of God’s Spirit and to help people develop a deeper personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Christian Meditation Community – A worldwide network of people who follow the mantra meditation approach of John Main OSB. Groups meet regularly to deepen their spiritual growth.
Joshua Prayer Communities and Ministries – Wellington-based network of Catholic Charismatic prayer groups in parishes and homes with some outreach activities.
Legion of Mary – A lay association with a special emphasis on devotion to Mary, the Mother of God − meets weekly for prayer and action,.
Marriage Encounter – A worldwide movement by which married couples, priests and religious are helped in further developing and enriching their relationships and vocations, usually through weekend programmes.
Passionist Family Group Movement – An international organisation promoting family life and fostering parish community by bringing individuals and families into extended family groups.
Society of St Vincent de Paul – Voluntary organisation with parish-based conferences which fosters the faith of its members through practical help to the poor and homeless.