Signs of Underdevelopment in the Spiritual Life
The most obvious sign of underdevelopment in the spiritual life is the level of unhappiness among most of our fellow church members. They are obviously not satisfied with their life. They want more and better things in life: more money, more time for themselves and their family, more excitement in their activities, more demands on their spouses, more attention from their parents, more appreciation for their work, etc. They always hanker for more.
As a result of this desire for more things, they fall into addictions: addiction to alcohol, to drugs, to sexual pleasure, to nicotine, to work, to religious activities, to gambling, etc. They search for things which they think can satisfy them and they never find complete satisfaction in those things. If they are truly developed in their spiritual life they would exhibit these qualities of a mature, fruitful Christian: love, harmony with others, a joyful spirit, sobriety, benevolence, humility, dependability, patience, kindly disposition, and other attitudes which bring happiness to others. But sad to say this is not the case. Rather the opposite is true. They bring more unhappiness to themselves and others.
Another sign of underdevelopment in the spiritual life is the low level of active literacy in the Bible. In 1965 the Catholic bishops gathered in Rome issued a document on divine revelation, entitled DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON DIVINE REVELATION. In that document they urged the Catholic faithful to read frequently the Bible. After 46 years have the Catholic faithful followed this exhortation? The obvious answer is No. Most of them do not even have a personal Bible. And most of those who do have do not even open it regularly. It is gathering dust in the shelf. Most Catholics do not read the Bible on a regular basis. Ask an ordinary Catholic to open her Bible at the Book of Job and you see her leafing through the book forward and backward wondering where the Book of Job is located; or you see her locating this book in the Table of Content. She could not easily estimate it as somewhere in the middle just before the Psalms.
But this does not apply only to Catholics. Even non-Catholics have a problem also. They have to devise ways and means to encourage their members to read and understand the Bible. In their Sunday schools they have various contests which require reading of the Bible, they have memory cards with Biblical verses, they have conferences on principles based on the Bible, anything that would draw their members to go and read their Bibles. If their members do the reading with a glad and grateful spirit, there would be no need for these techniques and gimmicks to make them read and understand the Bible. Ask an ordinary Protestant what are the unclean foods listed in the Bible, she would not know. She would have to locate the list in Leviticus. If she regularly reads and tries to understand the Bible she would know what these unclean foods are, the ones she should be careful not to eat for the health of her body.
If the church leaders and members are properly developing spiritually they would regularly read the Bible as they regularly eat their meals. Most church leaders and members think that as they read the Bible they would become better Christians. They never realized that the opposite of this process is true. As they genuinely develop spiritually they would have a natural hunger for God's Word and so would read and understand what is written in their Bible. As a consequence they would really grow spiritually.
A third sign that most of us are underdeveloped spiritually is the fact that we do not keep on multiplying ourselves as genuine Christians. People are baptized, yes by the hundreds and thousands, but this baptism does not make them genuine Christians. Instead we have inmates in prisons multiplying in numbers who have been baptized sometime in their life. Many of our jails are over populated.
It is clear then that most of us are not developing spiritually. Spiritual development has not been taught in our schools. True, we have had theology or Bible or religious education or values education classes, but nothing on spiritual development properly so called. There is then a need to learn more about spiritual development. Hopefully as we develop spiritually, we will have an increasing number of genuine Christians in our midst, people who make this world a happier place to live in.
Let Us Learn About Spiritual Development
Spiritual development is the topic of this blog. I discuss ideas here that can help us develop spiritually, grow in our inner life and enjoy life to the fullest. As we go along we shall discover that everything else in life can be related to our spiritual life.
While the spiritual life cannot be separated from our physical, material, and intellectual life, it is governed by principles and processes which are uniquely its own. We will discuss those principles and processes here. We will find that the principles and processes of the spiritual life have analogies with the principles and processes in the physical and material life that enable us to understand better the development of the spiritual life.
I welcome your contributions to this blog on spiritual development. Together we shall understand better the workings of our inner life and hopefully achieve that inner peace and harmony which is beyond our understanding. I also welcome your questions on this topic, spiritual development.
There is a brief primer here on spiritual development. There are also posts or articles which discuss the seven stages of spiritual development. Feel your way around and write your comments when you feel writing them. Your participation in the discussion and contribution to the ideas presented here will certainly help me and others who are reading the posts or articles in this blog.
I have other blogs which may be of help to you: