‘Spirituality’ – what does this word mean to you? I was invited to reflect on this question during the first session of the Spiritual Formation course that I have joined this year. I am beyond excited by this opportunity and so I expect it might be something that you hear a lot about from me during 2015! I feel so blessed that something like this is being run in my diocese. The definition that I settled on is:
‘By choosing to embrace & collaborate with God’s perpetual presence with us, and His active interest & concern with all that is happening in, and to, and around us; we can care for our souls & choose to grow in wholeheartedness.‘
Here are some definitions that we discussed on the day that struck a chord with me. First this one from David Runcorn. I’m drawn to the word pilgrimage in this definition; the sense of a journey and a quest.
‘Christian Spirituality is concerned with the whole of our humanity offered consecrated and transformed into the life of God. It is a pilgrimage into our true identity restored in Christ. This means learning to pray with all aspects of what makes us human – our personal story, sexuality and stages of life.’
From David Runcorn (2006) Spirituality Workbook, London, SPCK
And this one from Richard Rohr:
‘(The goal of Spirituality is) to strip away all the layers of pretence all that you or others have clothed yourself in over the years and get down to naked reality.
To lead the ‘naked’ person to stand truthfully before the naked God. The important thing is that we are naked; in other words that we come without title, merit, shame or even demerit. All we can offer to God is who we really are, which to all of us never seems like enough. I am sure that this is the way true lovers feel too.’
Fr. Richard Rohr, Simplicity: The Freedom of Letting go. Crossroad 2004
This nakedness feels key to the element of wholeheartedness that is important to me. There is such richness here. A week after this first session I am still chewing it over and nowhere near finished with my wondering and pondering.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on defining spirituality and what particularly resonates with you from these definitions?