No spirituality has it all

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT’S RIGHT. No spirituality has the exclusive right to Christianity. No spirituality can claim to be the only way to holiness. No matter how effective and appropriate to some people, no spirituality can claim a universal coverage of all the faithful in the Church.

But, yes, each spirituality can be the only way to holiness for some people, for that is what is truly meant for them. That, of course, is something that only God can judge.

And so we cannot make judgments as to whether a person is meant for this particular spirituality or that. That matter is between God and the person concerned alone. It’s a matter of conscience. And so we just have to respect one another in this matter and offer some help, if we can.

There are different spiritualities in the Church and in the world. There’s the religious spirituality that can lend itself to many variations—Jesuit, Redemptorist, Dominican, etc., and the lay spirituality. But even if we already have a good number of spiritualities, we can never say that we already have reached the maximum and that no other new spirituality can found. That would be tying the hands of the Holy Spirit.

Ours is, of course, to discern what spirituality is proper to us. For this, we need to be most judicious, going deep into prayer and contemplation to know God’s will and availing of all the means to help us see the spirituality most appropriate for us. This is a very important task that each one of us should give due attention and effort. In fact, this the most important task of our life here on earth.

And given that we already have a good idea of the spirituality meant for us, we should, of course, embrace it and live it as faithfully as possible. But we have to realize that we have to be not only respectful of the other spiritualities, including those that may be different and in some ways and practices in conflict with ours, but also know how to work together with them for the good of all.

In other words, no spirituality should be so isolated and detached from the others that it would have no relation with them. To clarify, it might be good to remit some words of St. Paul in this regard, to wit:

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

“Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and still another the interpretation of tongues.

“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.