a review of Christian spirituality
|April 2011|| Vol 50 no 2
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Translating the Divine
There are few issues in the life of the Church guaranteed to provoke more controversy than the language that is used in liturgy and theology. In particular, the debate on the importance of inclusive language (whether, for instance, the word ‘men’ can be used to refer to a mixed group of males and females) has raged in the English-speaking world for several decades, and shows little sign of reaching consensus. Teresa White asks what the experience of European languages in which most nouns are assigned a gender might contribute to this debate.
Liturgy and Communication
One of the ways in which The Way is marking its golden jubilee year is by reprinting a key article from each decade of the journal’s life. The 1970s, in the Roman Catholic Church, were marked by efforts to implement the decrees of the Second Vatican Council. Kevin Donovan was a British Jesuit influential in both the theory and the practice of the renewal of the liturgy that the Council had called for. In this article from 1972 he asks how liturgy can best communicate God’s message to the whole variety of people who come to church.
Our Lady, Lead Us to Christ!
Since the Reformation, the role of the mother of Christ in God’s plan of salvation has been the subject of much discussion. The early Jesuits found that they were frequently called upon to address this topic, without (as Ignatius himself had decreed) stirring up unnecessary controversy. Frederik Heiding considers the nature of the devotion those early Jesuits themselves had to Mary, and how this might have relevance for us in today’s more ecumenical context.
Spiritual Freedom as Liberation Within: Lessons from the Gulag Era
‘Freedom!’ is a rallying-cry that can readily unite Christians with people of other faiths and none, and the achievement of spiritual freedom is often seen as a primary goal of the Christian quest. Growing up in a Soviet-dominated Lithuania, and living through that country’s journey to independence, gives a particular sharpness to Ligita Ryliskyte’s analysis of this complex theme.
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Sit, Stand, Walk: The Art of Spiritual Direction
The rapid growth in the numbers of individuals looking for spiritual direction has been one of the key developments in Christian spirituality in recent decades. Once it was thought to be the preserve of clergy and religious; now lay-people are increasingly both seeking and offering this kind of accompaniment. But what is it that someone who approaches a spiritual director is actually seeking? Phiiip Seddon offers a range of answers, from an Anglican perspective.
The Camino and the Cochlear Implant: Being Guided into the Way of Peace
In recent years The Way has featured a number of articles in which those who have made pilgrimages of one kind or another reflect upon their experience. What makes Philip Shano’s article unique is that his plans to walk the Camino, the pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostella, had to be put on hold as he faced treatment for a brain tumour that left him completely deaf. It was only after a new medical device restored something of his hearing, that he set out to fulfil his earlier dream.
Seeking Sanctity in Our Contemporary World
In the book of Leviticus (19:2), God instructs the people ‘You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’. This command is addressed to everyone; sanctity is not to be the preserve of only a few. What might responding to such a call mean in today’s world, in our own vastly different circumstances? Hector Scerri, a Maltese diocesan priest, draws on the example of those recognised as living holy lives throughout the ages to arrive at a contemporary understanding.
Purity of Heart
‘Purity of heart’ is a theme that is widespread and influential in the Christian tradition, yet probably requires quite a lot of explanation if it is to help shape the life of a twenty-first-century believer. Stephen Munzer sets out to provide such an explanation, combining insights derived from psychology, theology and moral philosophy. He concludes that this is an ideal that in the end outstrips even morality, and demands the grace of God if it is to be realised.
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