Which “Spirituality” Is for You? A Place to Start, by Dr. Jeff Mirus

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Archbishop Emeritus Alfred C. Hughes, Spiritual Masters: Living and Praying in the Catholic Tradition. Ignatius Press, 2024. 182 pp. Paper $17.95; eBook $11.67.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus, Catholic Culture, May 14, 2024

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org.

Archbishop Emeritus Alfred C. Hughes, Spiritual Masters: Living and Praying in the Catholic Tradition. Ignatius Press, 2024. 182 pp. Paper $17.95; eBook $11.67.

 

One of the confusing things about spiritual growth is how to figure out exactly what particular approaches or procedures we ought to follow to foster that growth. We may come across various particular devotions or spiritual exercises, some of which may (or may not) have a particular appeal. The Holy Spirit, and presumably our guardian angel, know how we can best focus our spiritual energies, so we should certainly ask our angels for help and spend some time in silent prayer and reflection to try to discern the promptings of the Spirit. But getting the balance right is typically an ongoing process, especially since our personal circumstances change based not only on the realities of age, family life, health, work and other responsibilities but also on our own growing (or diminishing) spiritual maturity.

If we observe what others do in the spiritual life, we find that spiritual attachments vary just like other tastes. Some prefer solitary prayer; others prefer praying in groups whenever possible. Some prefer the prayerful reading of Scripture; others would rather be in front of the tabernacle with no books at all. Some are rejuvenated by sacred song (for these, it really does seem that he who sings prays twice). Others prefer an atmosphere of total silence. As for myself, since I have the worst case imaginable of NIHS—“not invented here syndrome”—I naturally prefer solitary and silent prayer, except when praying with my wife and family. …

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