Today was the beginning of a three-day workshop on Religious Life, given by Fr Diarmuid O Murchu, a priest of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart (MSC). Unfortunately Diarmuid was not able to be physically present in Nairobi, but we were fortunate to have succeeded in having him via Skype to give his input.
Diarmuid began with contrasting the view that emerged at the Council of Trent in 1563 to that of Vatican II in 1963. Whereas the Trent presented a small world view that was rather closed in its prophetic stance and which emerged from a white male clerical celibate stance, the Vatican II offered a bigger world view. In this latter vision, there emerged a wider prophetic stance which was more creation centred rather than the Trent’s view that was more heaven centred. In Vatican II the vision of the world and of spirituality was more inter-connected and multi-directional in its relationship between the world and the Church. Here the emphasis is on the Kingdom as the companionship of empowerment which offers a new way of being in the world that is devoted to right relationships characterized by justice, love, compassion and liberation.
Diarmuid then discussed the shifting foundations of spirituality from a fixed and hierarchical model to one that is grounded in the earth and within the web of life. He quoted Sandra Schneiders who said: ‘Spirituality is concerned with the spiritual life which is today understood as the vital, ongoing interaction between the human spirit and the Spirit of God, with both poles receiving equal attention and the focus being on the fact, the modality, the process, the effects, the finality of the interaction itself.’