A living faith – experience as a key element of spirituality

Vladimir Volrab

As a priest, I often ask myself how to communicate the faith well to people. If we go back to the very beginning of the story of the birth of the Christian faith, we see the great importance of direct experience.  The apostles walked with Jesus and were drawn into the narrative from which faith flowed. Today, we seek to pass on the faith primarily through words of catechesis and education. However, we live in a time when words about Christian spirituality (among others) easily become shallow, and symbols are often misunderstood or misinterpreted. 

The natural environment of symbols and language is lost to the inevitable continuing secularization and cultural Christianity. Symbols are frequently misused for ideological and political ends that can go against the spirit of the Gospel.

Thus, the question at the beginning of my dissertation is whether it would be better to put experience before words. To reverse the order and let the desire for words to bring answers flow out of direct experience.  The dissertation is based on the person of John Main and his notion of spirituality in which experience plays a key role and from which we then come to know the truths of the Christian faith. He himself states that the path of meditation is primarily a path of faith not of thought.  I believe this is a key understanding of spirituality mediating a deep and living faith.

Quarterly Newsletter

This article is part of the October issue of the WCCM Quarterly Newsletter.

Read and download the full issue here.

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