1- The Spiritual Journey
While defining "Spiritual Theology", we mentioned that we have to define at least three things:
1- the goal of spiritual life (actually we have two goals: union with God and the fullness of Love)
2- the stages of the journey
3- the means to achieve the goals.
We mentioned that knowledge of all the stages of the Journey of our transformation in Jesus is fundamental.
Knowing the stages is not a vain knowledge, a waste of time or mere curiosity. It helps us to know, in each stage:
a- what God wants to do,
b- what we are supposed to do, and
c- the result of our correspondence to His Grace, our transformation, what God really does. Therefore, knowing about the stages will help us, at least to a degree, "re-cognise" where we are.
When you read saint John of the Cross and saint Theresa of Avila, you find that a large part of their works, if not all of it, are following the development of Spiritual Life, describing, at each stage, the three elements mentioned above: a, b and c. These two saints are Doctors of the Church for Spiritual Theology.
Let us now embark in this discovery of our Journey.
The real measure of time
In order to understand the stages of growth of our Spiritual Life, let us start by understanding the normal vision of our Faith: how we see the Gospel, how we see Jesus' life, how we understand it, and how we understand it in relation to us.
Our vision of Jesus' public life is quite linear, chronological: our understanding of the Gospel is simple, straightforward. Jesus' life is divided in mainly two parts:
1- His ministry, his preaching and healing in Galilee and Judea.
2- His time in Jerusalem, his Passion, his Death and his Resurrection.
|1- The static linear vision|
Nobody can argue, or challenge this vision. It sticks to the facts.
But at the same time, if we remain with this linear vision, two main aspects of Jesus' life are not addressed with the attention they deserve:
1- The fact of Incarnation and its various mystical consequences for us.
2- The mystical dimension of salvation: i.e. the direct relationship between Jesus and each one of us.
These two aspects presuppose the presence of an interaction between God and the human nature, and between Jesus and each one of us.
In the linear vision of Christian life, the consequences of Incarnation don't really appear enough. We are just view Jesus' public life, in its two main parts.
This simplistic way of presenting the Life, Message, Mission, and Redemption of Jesus might be considered good, but the perception of time they offer is simplistic.
The unit of measure for Christianity should not be only "time" as we know it on our watches. The unit of measure should be "transformation". Transformation that happens in God (He will take flesh) in Jesus (Incarnation, His union with each one of us, Redemption). We should be attentive to the developments in Jesus' life, and then in ours.
Our life is about believing in Jesus and in what he did for us. Is what He did for us just a static short act of salvation on the Cross and nothing more? Or is there more to it?
The dimension of transformation is a much richer unit of measurement than mere "time".
I would like to start the deepening of these three related facts:
1- the way of Jesus, the steps in His own life and then
2- Jesus as our Way (what He did for us), and
3- what He wants to realise in us, and finally the stages of our transformation in Him.
The more we progress in our analysis of the Gospel, of Jesus, the more we'll notice how these facts are intimately, mystically related, more even: they are one.
(to be continued...)