Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Introduction to Spiritual Theology

These postings offer those preparing for the Roman Catholic priesthood information towards a systematic presentation of Spiritual Theology. This information is specifically geared toward preparation for ministry and supplements classroom lectures and reading assignments. Topics cover the nature of spiritual theology in priestly ministry, the history of Christian spirituality, the universal call to holiness, identification with Jesus, the indwelling of the Trinity, the supernatural organism and the Christian life, the nature and stages of spiritual growth in Christian perfection, the kinds and stages of prayer, the means to spiritual maturity appropriate for the various states of life, discernment of spirits, and ordinary and extraordinary mystical phenomena. These subjects are considered in relation to the cultivation of the parish community as “a school of prayer” and provide a significant portion of the minimal content that must be mastered to successfully complete Fall Semester 2005 theo 6105 Spiritual Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. The course begins on Sept. 1, 2005 and continues until December 16, 2005. The mastery of at least two years of philosophy and three years of graduate level theology in Scripture, Morals and Dogma are presumed in the postings, although I hope that others might benefit from what is posted as well. Your comments and questions are most welcome.


Luigi said...

Caro Dottore,
Prima vorrei chiedere se per lei é buono fare i commenti in italiano, penso che possiamo practicare la nostra lingua di scuola, per favore diga si va bene o no.
il mio primo comentario a la sua lezione é molto positivo, perche ho potuto capire di una manera molto semplice lo scopo de la Teologia Spirituale, cosa che mi fa contento perche sencondo me questa non é cosi semplice, soppratutto perche come lei dice nel suo comentario, la Teologia spirituale é una delle principale parte della Teologia in generale.
Ho seguito la sua lezione con gli appunti e per me ha stato piú facile capire e vedere lo piú importante della sua classe. Sono contento di poter averla e cosí studiare per il mio esame finale.
Me piacerebbe continuare a leggere il suo comento o le sue note prima delle lezione.
Grazie ancora e ci vediamo dopo.

Anthony Lilles said...

Grazie Luis -- Questa e bella! - but it will be easier for me to respond in English. Va bene?

Anonymous said...

The chart showing the connection between the gifts/fruits/virtues and beatitudes was very helpful. Also, I enjoyed our conversation around experiencing the gifts and their presence. It intuitively makes sense to me that the deeper the gifts are rooted, the less we will have a sensate experience of them (Jordan Aumann discusses this, I think in chapter 8 of Spiritual Theology). The manifestation of the beatitudes in our lives is the real indicator, I think, of the deep workings and receptivity to the gifts.

Anonymous said...

October 4 -
I've always sruggled with classifying/understanding the emotions in the role of the spiritual life. Your presentation last Thursday was helpful. Firstly, by positing Joy as the goal it helps to identify and give direction to when joy is not manifested (i.e. fear, anger sorrow) and helps to give a concrete direction in which to go. I would be very interested in a list of the virtues that parallel the emotions - you gave us 'patience' as a remedy/virtue to be sought in the face of sorrow. How about the others? (despair, courage, fear, aversion desire)? Also, could you explain a little more about desire as the connection between the passions and the will?
Thanks, Jim

Anthony Lilles said...

Theological virtues remedy the effects of sin.
hope remedies despair in the passions, perfects desire for happiness
charity remedies malice in the will, perfects natural love of God and neighbor.
faith - ignorance in the mind, perfects desire to know God and the truth.

Moral virtues (infused or acquired) regulate natural (good but morally nuetral) impulses. Prudence has to do with impulses related to seeing and choosing what is good and avoiding evil. So it fundamental to all the virtues. Justice has to do with ordering impulses by which we render what is due. Fortitude and Temperance pertain to emotional impulses as such. Fortitude those range of impulses that come up when a good is absent (mostly irascible) and Temperance those that come with the possession of what is good (generally concupiscible).

We will read about G.K. Chesterton later on and he is fantastic on this stuff as is Josef Pieper. However, these are some of my own reflections.

Prudence - seeing reality for what it is and choosing accourdingly.
For example,
studiosity - regulates the desire to know (curiosity)

Justice - the art of getting along with others, reglutes the social life with the allies of mercy and friendship.
For example,
Prayer regulates how we ask things from the Lord.
Devotion - our commitment to the Lord.
Piety - our duty to parents, country and blood relatives
Courtesy - how we show the respect that is due one another.

Fortitude - inner strength to lay down one's life for the truth
courage regulates fear (of one's own limits)
bravery regulates fear (of others or other things)
perseverence - discouragement
patience - sorrow

Temperance - nobibility and finesse in dealing with others
humility - self-esteem
sobriety - desire for drink
chastity - desire for sex
modesty - desire to reveal self to others
gentleness - anger

Anonymous said...

I appreciated our discussion revolving around the growing awareness among the faithful of the Trinity and its connection with communion.
In reading The Roots of Christian Mysticism (pg 62) I was quite astounded to see how the Trinity is spoken of in The Lord's Prayer. I always considered myself to be soley praying to the Father when praying it (although I know that implicitly where there is one there is three.) Maximus the Confessor explains - Our Father's name is Hallowed (given glory) through the Son. His Kingdom comes about through the Actions of the Holy Spirit. Thus the first three lines of the Our Father proclaim the not only the origin of all in the Father, but the saving action of the Son and the sanctifying actions of the Holy Spirit. It is very helpful for me personally, and I think it - since it is so often prayed by the faithful, it will be very helpful for them to see it in this way as well.