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Document Details :
Title: L'unique Esprit et les multiples spiritualités
Subtitle: Que signifie dans ce contexte la 'spiritualité du mariage'
Author(s): GRESHAKE, Gisbert
Journal: Marriage, Families & Spirituality
Volume: 2 Issue: 2 Date: Autumn 1996
The One Spirit and the Many Spiritualities
The concept of spirituality is nowadays no longer restricted to its specifically religious meaning, but is applied in an outright inflationary sense to indicate nothing more than a vague search for an inner, aimless “centre” or “wholeness” of life. It has to be deepened once more, starting from its religious origin. Already in the root of the word spirituality we find expression of the fact that a life of faith is essentially a “life in the Holy Spirit” and “work of the Holy Spirit”. If in addition to this we often find the word spirituality used in the plural or with a view to a varied abundance, this refers to the fact that the one Spirit produces a multiplicity of spiritualities, i.e. of “spiritual” fulfillments of the faith.
This multiplicity is found on various levels: (1) According to the personal vocation of the individual, for whom certain elements of the richness of the Christian faith receive a special meaning (cross or resurrection, action or contemplation and the like); (2) according to the historical situation (spirituality of the Middle Ages, contemporary spirituality etc); (3) according to the membership of specific groups (spirituality of the lay person, of the priest, of the married couple); (4) according to the following of a particular founder (Benedictine, Ignatian spirituality etc.).
The specific marriage spirituality belongs clearly to the third “category”. But this also means that with a view to the other categories it shows a wide range of variations. One cannot simply speak of the marriage spirituality. All the same, within the great wealth of variations, certain fundamental structures can be detected: the communal element of the life of faith, the willingness to an ever new reconciliation, a life based on faithfulness and strength of purpose, the
sacramental “look” (i.e. sensitivity to the possible sign value of all reality), and the realisation of Church in a small context (ecclesiola).
On the basis of an individual’s vocation, the situation at the time, or a personal preference, these 5 fundamental structures can be lived and realised in widely varied fashion; but together they form a kind of common framework or common basis.