Christianity: Details about 'Catholic Spirituality'
The Spiritual life for Roman Catholics. Once a Catholic has accepted the faith (fides quae creditur) by making a personal act of faith (fides qua creditur), then one lives out faith throught spirituality. Although all Catholics are expected to pray together at Mass, there are many different forms of spirituality and private prayer which have developed over the centuries. Each of the major religious orders of the Catholic Church has its own unique spirituality - its own way of approaching God in prayer and in living out the Gospel.
Desert Spirituality is characterized by prayer in solitude, asceticism, and a life of sacrifice. St. Anthony of Egypt (251-356) lived a desert spirituality. He lived as a hermit for ten years, practiced asceticism for his whole life, and grew his own food for sustenance. Centering Prayer is a part of desert spirituality. This is meditation on a single,
sacred word that draws one closer to God.
Benedictine spirituality is characterized by life in community, order, and obedience to superiors. St. Benedict (480-550) is considered to be the Father of Western Monasticism. He wrote The Rule and established his first monastary at Monte Cassino, Italy. Lectio Divina is a Benedictine prayer form based on praying with the Word of God. Lectio Divina has four "moments": Lectio (Reading), Meditatio (Reflection on the Word), Oratio (Praying), and Contemplatio (Silently listening to God).
Franciscan spirituality is characterized by a life of poverty, love of nature, and giving charity to those in need. St. Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) was the son of a wealthy merchant. He rejected all of his possessions and founded a community of brothers (friars) who lived in poverty and helped the poor. Franciscan prayer recognizes God's presence in the wonder of creation. This is seen clearly in St. Francis' Canticle of the Creatures.
Dominican spirituality is characterized by poverty, love of good preaching, and a sense of devotion. St. Dominic (1170-1221) encountered heretics on a journey in France. His opinion was that the people were not to blame - the preachers were. If there are good, orthodox preachers, then the people will be good and orthodox also. So, he founded the Order of Preachers, known as Dominicans. The Rosary is an
example of Dominican prayer, and some legends say that the rosary was given in its current form to St. Dominic by Our Lady.
Ignatian spirituality is characterized by examination of one's life, discerning the will of God, and living the Resurrection. St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was a wounded soldier when he first began to read about Christ and the saints. He had a conversion experience while healing and decided to found the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits. His classic, the Spiritual Exercises is a guide for making a retreat.
Carmelite spirituality is characterized by distrust of physical comforts, desire for spiritual progress, and insight into mystical experiences. Ss. John of the Cross (1542-1591) and Teresa of Ávila (1515-1582) were both Carmelite mystics whose writings are considered to be spiritual classics.
Opus Dei Spirituality
Opus Dei spirituality is based on life lived in the secular world. The "sanctification of work" consists in offering all work, however ordinary, to God. This implies that one always does one's best. To be a contemplative is to integrate one's life ("unity of life") in faithfulness to the Catholic church and in solidarity with all those with whom one comes into contact, living a life of faith in all circumstances of each day. As John Allen says: people who follow this spirituality enter a church and leave it for the same reason--to get closer to God. The members of Opus Dei and its cooperators do not form a religious order, but are part of a personal prelature, a pastoral structure similar to a diocese. They continue to be normal, ordinary Catholics, under the jurisdiction of their parishes and bishops, but at the same time have committed to convert their daily work into prayer with the spiritual assistance of the prelature.
Not far from the Ignatian spirituality in regard to its understanding of faith, Charismatic spirituality is in fact the re-exploration of different Catholic spiritual currents whith an emphasis on personal experience generally shared in groups.
Other Forms of Catholic Spirituality
Amongst modern regligious communities, tradional forms of prayer and spirituality have changed to reflect modern society. Vatican II accelerated the diversification of spiritual movements among Catholics, and many lay Catholics now engage in regular contemplative practices such as Centering prayer. Many contemporary spiritualities emphasize the necessity both of an interior relationship with God (private prayer) and works of justice and mercy. The Center for Action and Contemplation founded by Richard Rohr is an example of this trend.