"Successful Spiritual Theology"
What is a “successful Spiritual Theology”? "To be successful" is something essential, it is to reach fruition, or, in a much more simple way: to achieve the goal you set up.
Jesus himself points relentlessly on the necessity of "bearing fruits". Just check “fruits” in the Gospel of saint John, or just read again the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13 and parallels), you'll see that the only soil that bears fruits is the fourth one, the “Good soil”. This is the peak of the Parable: "bearing fruits" is the goal. And "with abundance” please!!
The human being is like a tree (see the majority of the parables, see as well the mysterious healing Jesus performs on a blind man, done in two steps (Mk 8:24)): he is supposed to bear fruits.
The fruit of life is holiness. Holiness is to reach the fulness, the completion of our own spiritual development. In doing so we face two great obstacles:
1- Till today, we hardly are able to define holiness. We remain with general concepts, and if we dig a little bit we don't really get a grasp of it. We often remain with general indications: - just do this and you'll be fine. - But tell me precisely what is holiness? An experienced eye will rapidly see the flaws in the answer. Everybody agrees on the fact that "the goal of our life" is "to reach holiness", but it often ends here. Beware tough: this is seriously risky not to be able to define it. (I'll tell you another day how, in the Catholic Church, we reached unanimously that conclusion: "everybody is called to become holy".)
2- Admitting that we reach that first goal: “defining holiness” - which would be really amazing because it makes us more credible - we are totally helpless in showing "the way to reach it", "the steps", "the stages", "the secure means" to holiness. You see? Immediately if you start addressing these issues, you'll have “resistance”. From the “we can't do that”, to “it is not the same for everybody”, “we can't know if we are there”, “we can't monitor the growth”, “there are no defined steps for a journey”, or you might end up by the contradictory statement (contradictory with the previous n°1 (see above)): “holiness is not for everybody”.
What remains in your hands? Simply: almost nothing. This is what Jesus would call: an unsuccessful life. There are “NO FRUITS” in this life (as needed according to the Gospel). We are trees that never reach their completion: the fulness of their hight (or if we do so, we are seen as "big mountains", "Hercules", "incredible Hulk" or... name it: exceptions.). We speak too much, and do nothing when we get to serious matters. We are trees that don't know how to reach completion.
A successful Christianity, a successful “Spiritual Theology” (it is the strictly the same thing), happen when you have in front of you and very well defined:
- a clearly defined goal,
- clear steps as well
- clear steps as well
- accessible practical means to reach it.
Otherwise, you might just call being christian: foolishness. We do leave holiness to randomised attempts, made by some "foolish" ones who decide to go for the journey.
A successful pedagogue (teacher) is the one that takes you from A to Z, through b, c, d, and so on. If your pedagogue didn't go through b, c, d, he/she can't really help you for long time. Simple! Wake up! “Successful” is: to be able to lead you, to show you the way, until you reach completion.
The real teacher has a “secure teaching” that leads to the Goal. He offers a secure complete journey.
A “Spiritual Theology” that doesn't perform these tasks is simply: chatter. Avoid loosing time and energy. Just an example: when you start reading John of the Cross: from page one, he sets the goal, and embarks you in a journey, that leads you to the maximum, to the top of the Mountain. He has the audacity to do so. He IS a Spiritual Master. Now we need spiritual Masters that are not only books we read, but humans that are here on earth with us. We don't need people who start the journey with you, with great audacity!, but don't know how to lead you when you face certain advanced steps, and are certainly incapable to lead you to the goal!
Do you see what I mean by “Successful Spiritual Theology”?
Unsuccessful Spiritual Theology is simply: ridicule.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a Tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ " (Luke 14:28-30)
- That "tower" is “holiness”. It is very high, high as God himself is high, because He is the Holy One.
- “enough money to complete it”: your first money here is the direct Call from Jesus. The second money here is “knowledge” of the Goal and of the journey and the means (Spiritual Theology). The third “money” here is: your determination, your entrepreneurial spirit, your adventurous spirit.
- “sit down, and estimate” sir... sit down... if you have the first and the third, do you have the second money? If you don't know, you don't have the knowledge, the secure knowledge, the “successful Spiritual Theology”, then, how would you do it? You'll start, as many start, but you won't be able to finish it.... what a ridicule thing to see: an unfinished building !!!
Please do join-in in understanding what is “Successful Spiritual Theology”. This is serious matter; not to be taken lightly. Random or general indications are not enough. The journey is serious, and serious secure knowledge is needed. Otherwise stopping in front of your unfinished “work” : “everyone who sees it will ridicule you”.
When life starts, and you stop it, what is it called? - Abortion.
When spiritual life starts in you (that is Jesus in you) and you stop it (out of "unsuccessful spiritual theology") how do you call it? I would use the same word.
Is the Life of Jesus in you, and its completion less important? Com'on.