Tag Archives: monastic spirituality

Article: Spirituality in Contemporary Ireland: Manifesting Indigeneity, by Bernadette Flanagan and Michael O’Sullivan

The article‘s two authors, Bernadette Flanagan and Michael O’Sullivan, write that scholars of Christian spirituality need to look beyond classical Christian texts to understand developments in contemporary spirituality.  In the case of contemporary spirituality in Ireland, we need to explore practices that predate the advent of Christianity in that country. They introduce their approach in the following excerpt:

… this article will focus in particular on an ethnographic/historical account of how the inter-spiritual blend of indigenous tradition and Christianity is a characteristic feature of an emerging spirituality in Ireland.

In other words, many have responded to the crisis of credibility of religious institutions by wedding a Christian upbringing with pre/early Christian spiritual practices, which are orally available from living older generations in Ireland. The significant emerging spiritual practices that will be reviewed in this article will be the revitalization of Pilgrim paths; the visitation of Holy Wells; the restoration of Pattern Days, celebration of the four key festivals of the Celtic calendar; the engagement between Old and New Monasticism and the turn to public celebrations of ancient Celtic festivals. For some people these new expressions are a retrieval of a neglected stream within Catholicism; whereas for others the new expressions are a mark of separation from the past.

Here’s the article’s citation data:

Flanagan, B. & O’Sullivan, M. “Spirituality in Contemporary Ireland: Manifesting Indigeneity.” Spiritus: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, vol. 16 no. 3, 2016, pp. 55-73.

A subscription to Spiritus is one of the benefits of membership in the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality.

Paper: Merton’s Monastic Wisdom: The Role of the Affections

This paper was presented in June by Elizabeth A. Dreyer at the Thirteen General Meeting of the International Thomas Merton Society, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, CT.  Elizabeth provides the following precis:

Based on an understanding of wisdom as knowledge wedded to love (affections), this paper examines evidence of the presence/absence of the affections in the work of Thomas Merton. While Merton was an outspoken advocate of a holistic, inclusive, and “worldly” spirituality, he did not escape aspects of dualism in the monastic tradition that view emotion, bodies, sexuality and busyness as suspect or even destructive of the spiritual life.  I conclude that Merton’s monastic writings do not serve as the best paradigm for the wider church whose majority membership is made up of laity who are immersed in the world of intellectual and affective engagement in the world of sexuality, family and society. Concepts of busyness, noise, distraction, solitude, and silence need to be re-examined in a new key different from Merton’s monastic viewpoint.