“When applied to the spiritual life, the metaphor of a journey is both helpful and somewhat misleading.
Helpfully it reflects the fact that the essence of spirituality is a process—specifically, a process of transformation.
Unhelpfully it obscures the fact that we are already what we seek and where we long to arrive—specifically, in God. Once we realize this, the nature of the journey reveals itself to be more one of awakening than accomplishment, more one of spiritual awareness than spiritual achievement.
There are, however, two very good reasons to describe the spiritual life in terms of a journey.
First, it fits well with our experience. We are aware that the self that begins the spiritual journey is not the same as the one that ends it. The changes in identity and consciousness—how we understand what it means to be me and our inner experience of passing through life—are both sufficiently profound as to be best described as transformational. The same is true for the changes in our capacity for love and the functioning of our will and desires.
The second reason is that the spiritual journey involves following a path. Much more than adopting a set of beliefs, a path is a practice or set of practices that will characterize our whole life. Following this path is the way we participate in our transformation. It is the way we journey into God and, as we do, discover that all along we have already been in God.
It is the way our identity, consciousness and life become grounded in our self-in-God and God’s self-in-us.
Christian spirituality is taking on the mind and heart of Christ as we recognize Christ as the deepest truth of our being. It is actualizing the Christ who is in us. It is becoming fully and deeply human. It is experiencing and responding to the world through the mind and heart of God as we align ourselves with God’s transformational agenda of making all things new in Christ. It is participating in the very life of God.”
Basil Pennington. Intro to…
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