More “Practical”

I’ve variously had friends tell me that they find Ignatian spirituality (more understandable, though it depends greatly on the person presenting Saint Ignatius’ thought) or Protestant spirituality (less understandable) more “practical” or “everyday” than whatever I’m reading at the moment: Thomas Aquinas, Catherine of Siena, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales…

I guess I could understand if someone told me that they personally have trouble reading the writing style of these authors. That sounds normal.

But I don’t understand calling these Doctors of the Church less “practical” or “everyday” than Ignatian or especially Protestant spirituality. This flies against everything I’ve learned in this life. The goal of our life is transformation in Christ. That doctrine is pretty plainly laid out by these Doctors of the Church, especially the links to contemplative prayer which is part of our normal progress in prayer and the virtues. OK, so maybe the language needs to be updated. Maybe the links to laypeople and action need to be emphasized. But the “practicality” and “everyday-ness” doesn’t need to be changed. It’s already present. The language may need changing, but the reality doesn’t. I really don’t get it. If these saints weren’t “practical” and “everyday”, how could they be Doctors of the Church, teachers of the universal Church to whom “anyone” can go to learn safely?

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