Tuesday, 19 June 2012

20: Defining Spiritual Theology 1

It is true that 'Spiritual Theology' is a science. For many it is a branch in Theology, like Neurology or Cardiology is a Branch in Medicine. For others it can be named 'Mysticism' and can be categorised as another Faculty, as Psychology's Faculty is different from the Faculty of Medicine.

The definition of a Science comes at least from two criteria:
1- The Light under which an object is seen, considered, studied,
2- The Angle under which the object is seen. (see: Jacques Maritain, 'Degrees of Knowledge') This is why some consider 'Spiritual Theology' as a different science from Theology because both the Angle and the Light are different.
Since this science is not enough developed in the Church, it remains, conservatively, considered as a branch of Theology. Sadly, and strangely, it is not one of the main branches of Theology (Bible, Dogma, Sacraments, Moral Theology). What an odd fate for such a great Lady.

A 'Great Lady'

As we previously explained in many posts, 'Spiritual Theology' is the science of the 'Master of Spiritual Life' and requires from him/her to develop two more capacities: the Experience of God and the Discernment.
Formation in Spiritual life is much more than being catechised. It is a deeper phase in our spiritual life (a 'phase two' if you will). This phase starts when we decide as adults, to reply to Jesus' Call, put our hands in His Hands, and follow Him toward holiness, the Union with Him.
'Spiritual Theology' is the science that guides our formation in Spiritual Life. I would like to compare her to a Lady, a Lady who is in charge of our formation, that show us the Way (Jesus) and show us how to know Him, how to Love him, and let Him grow in us.

I have no hesitation in unifying the two figures: 'Mary' and 'Spiritual Theology'. 'Spiritual Theology' is THE science, par excellence, that leads us to the goal of Christian life: holiness. No other science or branch of theology can. We forget that very often, and therefore, strangely, neglect this science.
Like a real mother, 'Spiritual Theology' bends and gets close to us, gives us first the milk, and then a stronger food. She takes care of us, and provides all what is needed to reach the goal.
She is much more than Mary's first daughter. She is the 'garments' that Mary wears to serve us as our real Mother, given to us from Jesus (see John 19:27). Mary takes care of 'Spiritual Theology' and is in charge of 'her'. This is why I prefer to consider them as the same person.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus speaks this way about the 'science of Love':
"Sometimes a word comes to console me, such as this one which I received at the end of prayer (after having remained in silence and aridity): "Here is the teacher whom I am giving you; he will teach you everything that you must do. I want to make you read in the book of life, wherein is contained the science of LOVE. The science Love, ah, yes, this word resounds sweetly in the ear of my soul, and I desire only this science. Having given all my riches for it, I esteem as having given nothing [Ct 8.7]... as did the bride in the sacred Canticles. I understand so well that it is only love that makes us acceptable to God that this love is the only good I ambition. Jesus deigned to show me the road that leads to this Divine Furnace […].” (Manuscript B,1)

The 'science of love'

This is another name for 'Spiritual Theology'. To love God is to act accordingly to the desire of God. To do what is needed in order to achieve God's plan for us.

(to be continued...)

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