Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Spiritual Life

Based on how spirit has penetrated the function of the soul, there are different kinds of lives we can choose.  We can choose one that is intellectual and physical--one that ignores the spirit, gives priority to intellectual pursuits based on the physical world, as an example. This life has its own world view, behaviors and relationships.  This would be quite different than a life which was spiritual--intellectual. This life is quite different because the spiritual dominates the physical.

Saint Theophan says,
When the spiritual reigns supreme in someone, then although this is his exclusive character and attitude, he does not err.  This is because, in the first place, spirituality is the norm of human life, and so as a result, being spiritual, he is a real person, whereas the intellectual or carnal man is not a real person. Secondly, no matter how spiritual someone is, he cannot help but give the intellectual and kernel their rightful place; he maintains just a little of them, insubordination to the spirit.
According to natural purpose, man must live in the spirit, subordinate everything to the spirit, be penetrated by the spirit in all that is of the soul, and even more so in all that is physical–and beyond these, and in the outward things, to, that is, family and social life...
This is the challenge we face in our spiritual growth and development. We must learn how to integrate spirit, to lift ourselves up to where spirit has the top priority in our way of life. This requires much effort. This is why Christ came and established his Church with its sacraments and all its traditions and ascetic practices. When we surrender ourselves to the Christ and His Church and to her teachings, we grow, allowing spirit to live within us and to take top priority. We can then lead what would be called a spiritual and virtuous life.

Reference: The Spiritual Life by Saint Theophan the Recluse, pp71-76

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