Christian Faith In Action

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Christian Faith in Action

Christian Faith in Action


The spiritual life is the Christian life lived with some intensity. It is the serious response of man to the revelation of God's love in Christ and consists in loving knowledge and service of God and one's fellow men in the Mystical Body of Christ. Christian spirituality begins when God's word is accepted in faith (Alford & Naugthon, 2001). It manifests itself in the expression and the development of the love of God in prayer and action. It is the subjective assimilation and living in charity of the objective, theological realities of revelation.

Since its object, origin and goal is God in His personal life, Christian spirituality is interpersonal; it is the life of man with God. Men are given this new relationship with the Trinity gratuitously, and they express it in acts that are at once human and transcendent. The open, free, and in some sense unlimited human spirit can express itself only in dependence on the material, the finite and particular, hence little by little and in time (Alford & Naugthon, 2001). This particularized condition of existence is reinforced in Christianity by the fact that grace is union with a historical person, Christ (Acts 2.38), and a participation in the sacred events called mysteries in His life. At the same time the new life in Christ is transhistorical and supernatural (Gal 2.20); it is nothing less than the life of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Son, in man (Rom 8.14-16).

This brief identification of Christian spirituality has three distinguishing features that will be examined separately. They are the interpersonal, the historical, and the transcendent aspects of Christian spirituality.

Christian Faith in Action

The meaning of interpersonal life can best be examined by considering the encounter with which it begins and the community or fellowship of life that follows.

Encounter. Men as children of Adam are born estranged from God. Christian spirituality begins for them with their encounter with God who comes to them in Christ. This encounter is not a mere psychological construction, like an imagined visit with an absent person (Catholic Church, 2004). The encounter is primarily ontological, founded on the real, objective, super-conscious union with God in grace (Gal 3.2-5). But encounter in the spiritual life is more than ontological union. It is the intellectual and affective realization of the I-thou relationship of grace as well, the conscious experience of God who calls in love and is answered in faith. This experience or consciousness is not necessarily immediate and direct, like the feeling of God's presence in the classical mystical experience of God. It takes many forms, but basically it is an awareness and conviction that God is a person, that He is real and His love is real, and that this love freely accepted makes man a friend of God sharing God's own life.

Christian spirituality is neither abstract knowledge nor mere moralism (1 Cor 13.1-3). It is not a human system of self-perfection, even in the moral or religious ...
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