It takes a special courage to pursue the mature spiritual journey when the structures that were meant to support it have failed and maybe never worked in the first place. It also requires great courage to take a stand against a prevailing culture that is saturated in materialism, narcissism, and finitude.
Those of us who long for a rich and mature spiritual life find ourselves in a spiritual vacuum. Western civilisation is in a phase of gross dysfunction. We are witnessing the disintegration of all the old structures. In many ways spiritual seekers are lost in a world where on the one hand the old Church structure does not support mature spiritual seeking and on the other hand the secular world does not value or even recognise a longing to pursue the spiritual path. For both of these reasons those of us who long for a rich spiritual life must find the way forward alone.
It is comforting to know there are like-minded people out there who are equally trying to find a new way forward to develop their mature spiritual life.
These are questions I ask myself all the time. I wonder do you share them?
• Where do Christians go when the Church does not serve our mature spiritual needs?
• How do we find a new way forward to follow the beautiful teachings of Jesus and live a mature spirtuality?
My working answers to these questions are that:
• We must create the ‘space’ ourselves to tend to our own and to our shared spiritual needs and longings.
• We must envisage a new way forward and create the future we need.
I am really interested to hear your own thoughts and explorations of these important questions.
In this postmodern era we no longer look to others to take the lead and show us the way. That approach got us into the mess in the first place. We must ourselves take the lead and so become both the pathfinder and the path of our spiritual journeying.
The future for followers of Christ beyond the old Church is not yet clear because it has not yet been created. Those of us who care - we are the creators of the future. It is up to us to create and design it. Let’s work together to design and create a beautiful way forward that honours the undeniably exquisite teachings of Jesus.
The Catholic Church itself admits that it has failed to lead Irish people spiritually. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, admitted to this in The Irish Times back in April. He said,
“[W]e have a substantial number of believing Catholics who are feeling that the religious education they had received is no longer providing them with the answers or the ability even to enter a dialogue about the evolving reflection of what our world is.”
He also said,
“The church has to re-find its future. The church is imprisoned in its past –not just by the abuse thing – in a whole culture and that culture doesn’t respond any more to the realities. Therefore you’ve to find creative ways of moving out and they’ll be very, very different.”
I share some of my key ideas about where we went wrong in the West in a very short, 2 minute video, in which I speak about my new book, In The Womb of Christ. If you would like to, you can watch vimeo here.