KNOWING THE VALUE OF OUR SPIRITUAL CHARACTER

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African American family reading the Bible.

Every human person exhibits a unique spiritual character that is mostly coined from the special devotional prayers or songs or works he or she does. It is very common to all Christian people to demonstrate this character to uncover the values that are deeply ingrained in them. When we are talking about who we are as Christians, Kelli Mahoney said, our character matters and it should be reflective in our spiritual life. People look at us to be an example of Christianity, and when we misbehave, we only substantiate a belief that all Christians are hypocritical. We need to allow Christ to build up our character and as we look at the Bible we can see that character matters: God wants us to be the best people we can be. We need to be more like Him in our actions and words. He asks us to walk in His footsteps and follow his example of good character. If we are truly living a life of faith, we will also should strive to build a good Christian character. 

In the Pauline address to the people of Rome, he mentioned that  “we should not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will (cf. Romans 12:2). There are spiritual devotions that have its own emblem which designates and co-ordinate the way they live their lives and how they socialize with others. For those who may find it awkward relating with people of such spiritual formation, it doesn’t really make them spiritual fools or those who have no interest in spiritual activities, rather it simply questions their own spiritual foundation, which may likely to be faulty out of poor information from the Bible or they were economical of spiritual orientation while growing.

There are outstanding pious societies in the Catholic Church, such as Legion of Mary, Sacred Heart Society, Precious Blood devotees, Divine Mercy and many others. In the same vein, there are other Biblical groups like CCRN, CBMN, CBIU, to mention but a few, which has a separate way of operating in the Catholic jurisdiction. One thing that is very important here is that each of the group has introduced in them, a formal way of life, which systematically build their pattern of prayer life. It is in trying to understand these differences that the Catholic community in its native tradition reshape the intending plurality of ideologies, which gently gain entrance into the corridor of spiritual values of the adherents of these spiritual organisations. Take, for example, the organic institution of the Charismatic movement, especially in their method prayer, it generally differs from the prayer life of a Legionary, who tenaciously recite the bead of the rosary and carry out their legionary work. The creation of these differences may institute a gracious spiritual fragrance if only they are truly harnessed. But with recent spiritual settings corrupted by human will, many groups, have partitioned their groups’ spiritual life, by saying, I am a member of Charismatic, I am a Legionary, I am a devotee of Precious Blood and so, I do not operate in the same spiritual reality with other brethren from other pious groups. The conception of this only brings forward so many division in the Catholic faith. St. Paul reminds us that all of us should agree, that there be no division among us, but that we are united in the same mind and the same judgement, in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:10).

In recent times, the Catholic Church has begun to record conflict in spiritual activities, which has a parochial influence on those who are still spiritual infants. In terms of prominence, which I think, causes a lot of issues, people tend to follow the crowd-spirituality. The reason why this happens is that there is fewer or no preparatory class for them to follow. They are spiritually dwarfish and they are not with the materials that will guide them, starting from the nursing stage to the time, they wish to choose their own spiritual devotion, which will assign them with a particular spiritual character. Without the right implements, every labourer in the vineyard of spiritual battle would always come home defeated, because the moment you lack the technical aspects of developing spiritual maturity, it will naturally affect ones spiritual journey.

Many Christians are inadvertently denied access to knowing their spiritual character and its values. It is beginning to unmask the faceless individuals who are intolerant of Biblical instructions. Some of these people exist, they are ritual Churchgoers who at every given moment bring their body to the Church and you can find them through the disposition they put in liturgical activities and how they respond to the clarion call, either to assist the parish in a way or they are asked to oblige their God-given talents for the work of God. To be honest, however, no matter how everyone behaves, he or she, has a character he or she portrays with regards to spiritual formation. And no matter how sour or stale ones spiritual character is, there is always a means of restructuring it. One can redefine his or her spiritual character by paying optimal attention to the word of God; by living a life of unity, by listening to the sermons of the priests and bishops; by feeding himself or herself with spiritual books and by taking a spiritual walk to any local monasteries, the shrine of the saints and emulating students who are judiciously undergoing Spiritual studies.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has a spiritual character, which is seen in his public and private ministry. Any time, he is engulfed by the work of evangelization, he withdraws immediately to a quiet place and prays (Lk. 5:16). The significance of this practice is an excellent choice of silence and it influences the way he speaks, the places he is likely to be found and the type of conversation that wish away his time. Our spiritual identity should as well collaborate with the character of Jesus, no matter how our school of thoughts, may pose a serious challenge to us.

If our relationship with others has no common value on love, judicious silence, richness in prayer, it simply implies that we are indirectly causing our inclinations and desires to rule over our spiritual intelligence. For love is the greatest force in the universe, Martin Luther King, Jr. would say. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. For he who loves is a participant in the being of God. And the only way to obtain a good spiritual value is by accepting to love, respect, tolerate each other and become inherently kind, knowing that love concretizes good spiritual character. Our love for each other should be warm and hearty and shouldn’t have any trace of race, spiritual affiliation, for Christianity without love, Bishop Godfrey Onah pointed, including love of the enemy, is empty. And a Christian without love has no spiritual character.

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