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Stages of Spiritual Development

Spiritual development or the development of the spirit in us goes through stages, just like the development of other living organisms.

Stage 1: Planting the Seed of the Spirit in Us
The first stage is the planting of the spirit’s seed in us. As we saw in our Primer, Part 4, this seed is the Word of God. The responsibility of doing this planting in us does not lie with us but with the ministers of the Word of God who have been commissioned to do this. In the Catholic Church this responsibility lies eminently with the bishops. “Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place” (Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Number 25). In the other churches their ministers or pastors are primarily responsible for this. But all church leaders and members have the duty also of helping in the planting of the seed in those who have not yet heard the Word of God.

Stage 2: Germination of the Seed of the Spirit in Us
A seed may be planted but it may not germinate. In the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23) the main reason why the seed does not germinate is because an enemy takes it away from the soil or heart of the hearer.

Germination is equivalent to the conception of the fertilized egg in the woman.

Stage 3: The Birth of the Spirit in Us
After a period of germination or conception the seed of the spirit now becomes fully developed, like a sapling or foetus, and is soon born of the person. In the plants the seed now comes out as a blade, then a stalk. In the animals it comes out as an offspring. In the humans it is born as a baby. In the world of spirits the spirit comes out as a new-born babe in the spirit (1 Peter 2:2).

Stage 4: The Growth of the Spirit in Us
Again, like other living organisms, the spirit grows in us. As it grows it needs the proper nutrients. We saw in our Primer, Part 11, these nutrients are: spiritual milk or the first principles of God’s word, solid food or the whole counsel of God, especially in the Gospels, doing the things that its family or the Church does, solitude, discipline, communicating with its parent God and its spirit brothers and sisters.

Stage 5: The Maturation of the Spirit in Us
The spirit grows and matures in us. It becomes victorious through trials and temptations.

Stage 6: The Spirit Bears Fruit in Us
As we same in our Primer, Part 12, there are three ways by which the spirit in us bears fruit. The third of these is also the way by which the spirit multiplies among us.

The spirit bears fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Then it also bears fruit in good works. Thirdly it bears fruit by planting the seed of God’s word in others so that they too are born as spirits. In this way more and more spirits are born on this earth.

Stage 7: The Repetition of the Cycle in the Lives of Persons
As the seed of God’s word continues to be sown in the hearts and minds of other persons, more and more spirits are conceived and born into this world. This is now the quantitative development of spirits.

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