1- ST takes care of our Spiritual Life
The object of Spiritual Theology: our Spiritual Life. It is meant to take care of our spiritual life, its growth, its healthy and steady state.
2- ST manages a relationship between Christ and each one of us
Our Spiritual Life is the life of God in us, Jesus' life in us. This life is generated by the combined action of two persons: Jesus and each one of us.
This is why it is important to know what Jesus wants to achieve, how He works, what he wants. And it is as important to know 'how a human being can answer to His Call', reply to him, act, react, in a synergetic, harmonious, way.
3- ST's goal is to make our Spiritual Life grow
Spiritual Theology has various goals. Final, remote goals, and daily goals. It is only by achieving the daily goals that we can reach the final ones.
3.1 Final Goals: 1- Union with Jesus, 2- Fulness of Love
Spiritual life has two main goals:
1- Reaching first the top of the Mountain of the Union with Jesus Christ, God.
2- Reaching, with Jesus, and in Jesus, the bottom of the Mountain, serving our brothers and sisters reaching the fullness of love.
3.2 Intermediate Goal: each day, achieving 'the daily measure'
The intermediate Goal is each step we make, in order to reach the final goal. We have three measures in spiritual life: the act and the day (you may add 'the week').
- The act, any act, we make during the day should be synergetic. It should be done from Jesus, with Jesus, achieving Jesus.
- The real measure though is the day. “Today's effort is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34). I chose to translate here: “effort” and not "trouble" or other words. Showing that there is a measure of correspondence to the Holy Spirit we are called to achieve everyday.
No doubt the lectio divina, and the lectio divina well made, helps us achieve that goal, of adding every day one more synergetic act. Jesus states it: you can't do anything without me (John 15). He invites us to imitate Him by contemplating the will of God and then by his Grace putting it into practice. Lectio divina is completed by the Prayer of the heart. Like sun and water nourish the tree, Lectio divina and prayer of the heart, respectively, nourish us.
It is by accomplishing the “intermediate goal”, the measure of the effort of each day, that our Spiritual Life grows in us and that we can reach the final goals, otherwise, we are not growing properly.
4- Recognising the stages of Spiritual Life
When a mother has a baby, she starts to go, on a regular basis to a paediatrician, because she needs to know if her baby is healthy, doing well, growing … She doesn't always have all the sufficient knowledge in order to take care of her baby.
In the meantime, the Paediatrician has enough knowledge and experience in order to be able to do this checkup. He/she measures and weighs the baby and performs all sorts of checkups in order to be sure that the baby is growing. The Spiritual Master does almost exactly the same work. The faithful goes to him, in order to show his/her inner life and practices. Like the mother goes with her baby.
4.1 Knowing the stages
As the Doctor knows the 'normal' stages of growth of the baby, the 'Spiritual Master' knows them as well. Without knowing the stages and what characterises them, the Doctor cannot ensure the check up, cannot ensure that the baby is healthy and that all is fine. It is the same for the 'Spiritual Master'. It is part of his/her training to know the stages of spiritual life. This comes with study and learning.
4.2 Recognising the stages
One thing is knowing the stages, learning them (scientifically, theoretically), and the other is being able to re-cognise them. This comes with a lot of experience and discernment. The future Master has to become first a Disciple, for various years, in order to receive the discernment. Otherwise it is simply 'hell' (a great confusion). This is a very delicate art, and mistakes could be done very easily.
The “eyes” of the future Master, 'the capacity to see', and then 'the capacity to discern' have to grow. This can only happen under a training with another Master. It is the transmission of the living Tradition of Spiritual Masters.
I think, that these simple lines, help define the framework of Spiritual Life and Spiritual Theology.
Wondering too much out of that framework can create confusion and loss of time and energy.
After reading these few lines, you can easily conclude that this "science" (Spiritual Theology) is the queen of all sciences, or better said: if you still consider 'Spiritual Theology' as a branch of Theology (it is your right to do so), wouldn't you consider that this Branch (ST) is not only a fundamental branch, but the Queen of all Branches of Theology? Anyway, the most useful one, the one that most of the faithful claim, wait for, and hardly receive in their lifetime. Look around.
Wouldn't you then wonder : where did it go in the big forest of Theology?
Why Theology divorced from Spiritual Theology? (I thought in the Catholic Church we didn't have divorce !!!!!) The actual Pope laments this divorce and is trying his best to mend it!
Why Spiritual Theology today is a 'half-dead' body lying on the road? (see the Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10:30)
Ok, I will stop lamenting, and get up early, and work, work, work, in this Field - with the Help and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is My CREED.