Healthy Spirituality

by Lorenzo Bautista

Spirituality has recently become the more current term for religiosity. This is likely due to religion getting negative, connoting defect in rationality and psychological health. Whatever the reason, it is useful to inquire carefully about what may consist a healthy spirituality.

One historic moment concerns the relation between faith and reason. Assuming that both faith and reason are human faculties since God designed human beings, we note St. Anselm’s famed meme fides quaerens intellectum, i.e., faith seeking understanding. Faith might often precede understanding, but it must always desire to better understand the basis of such faith. This growth in understanding serves the task of knowing how the faith, supposed to be a game changer, might indeed reorder life in a way which is sustainable and healthy. For those who have started in rationality, they may actually profit from making the saying stand on its head, understanding seeks faith so it may see its transcendent dimension. In a few instances, either way may happen more serendipitously. The end should be more whole, a gain in mindfulness of the complexities of life that require an integrating center. The opposite is fragmentation, an inchoate living which falls short of reaching full potential. Jesus’ saying on the spiritual vision where light bathes the soul so that it assures orientation to truth captures this point. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (Matthew 6:22)

Aside from rationality, a healthy faith employs a sensibility sui generis to human beings as specie. This is the will, or the capability of deciding, of self-determination, or what thinkers today call agency. Faith must be owned by one’s self, i.e., decided upon freely rather than merely copied, inherited, done under duress, or made to serve another interest. In other words, healthy spirituality is one done by those who have made an “exodus from self-incurred tutelage” into their own practice of freedom and accountability.

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