Contemporary spirituality is a plural and varied spirituality continually enriched by saints, mystics, experts, writers, and honest, ordinary people – and non-Christian brothers and sisters.

Among the Christian authors that recently had or continue having a significant impact on the writer – and on many others -, and for different reasons, cites a few among them: John Henry Newman  (1801-1890), Apologia pro Vita Sua; G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936).The Everlasting Man;C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Signature Classics; Simone Weil (1909-1943), Gravity and Grace (posthumously published in 1952);Thomas Merton (1915-1968)), New Seeds of Contemplation; St. Teresa of Kolkata (1910-1997), Come Be My Light, The Private Writings of the ‘Saint of Calcutta’; Anthony de Mello (1921-1987), Sadhana: A Way to God; Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), The Return of the Prodigal Son; Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988), Prayer; Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship; St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD, earlier Edith Stein (1891-1942),  Essential Writings; St. Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906), Heaven and Earth (Retreat Notes); Georges Bernanos (1888-1948), The Diary of a Country Priest; John G. Arintero (1860-1928), Evolución mística (Mystical Evolution); Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), The Phenomenon  of Man;  Dorothy Day ((1897-1980), The Long Loneliness; Gustavo Gutiérrez (b. 1928), We Drink from Our Own Wells. The Spiritual Journey of a People; Rick Warren (b. in 1954), The Purpose-Driven Life; José Luis Martin Descalzo (1930-1991), Razones para vivir (Reasons to Live).

The author also loves to read inspiring works by other Christian as well as non-Christian authors. In a world often permeated by books, novels that are filled with violence, lust and despotic power, it is refreshing to read inspirational and spiritual books that highlight interiority, spirituality, harmony, and peace.

In this context, this writer remembers the little and meaty book Rumor of Angels: Modern Society and the Rediscovery of the Supernatural by sociologist Peter Berger (b. 1929-2017). Many of the current books that the author mentions in this final section are significant books – generally, best-sellers – for many people in our secularized world. These books, which help many enter the surprising world of the transcendent, mystical and mysterious, are like rumors of angels – soft inspirational voices of the supernatural in our generally secular, indifferent and materialistic societies.

The writer has found joy and hope in the following books: The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), Gitanjali (Songs of Offering) by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (1905-1997), The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944), The Art of Happiness by the (14th) Dalai Lama (b. 1935), Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach (b. 1936), The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho (b. 1947), Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (b. 1958), etc.

People yearn for God, with a longing that is a natural yearning which can be covered or buried but not destroyed.  All sources point out in various ways and languages to the search for the meaning of life, for happiness, hope, love, compassion, forgiveness. Consciously or unconsciously, individually or in community, all persons are seekers looking for inner and outer peace – for God. St. Augustine said it well at the beginning of his Confessions: “You, Lord, have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”


And thus, we come to the conclusion of these columns. The Sacred Scriptures, the writings of the Fathers of the Church, the magisterium of the Church, the classics of Christian spirituality, and current inspiring books guide Christians and women and men of good will on their journey of life as co-pilgrims to God.

Spirituality or Spiritual theology speaks of the experiences of God and its written testimonies. The goal of Christian spirituality is not mainly knowledge of holiness but a holy life. Its ultimate goal is – like for a moral life – the beatific vision of God, who is the Holy One, who keeps inviting women and men to share in his divine holiness – to make us holy. St. Bonaventure writes: “Theology exists to serve contemplation and to make us holy; however, its first purpose is to make us holy.” Theologian Jean-Pierre Torrell comments: “The practice of theology must cause the theologian to grow in holiness. Not only theologians are called to this as disciples of the Holy One, but their profession adds to this call a singular exigency: they should be holy because they are theologians.”

The greatest challenge of spirituality in the third millennium is, undoubtedly, correct practice, orthopraxis. Spirituality is not just to know what is good but to be good, to practice virtue. Indeed, “To know and not to do is not yet to know” (Buddhist Proverb). Our Christian faith is not just knowing Christ but following him. Miguel de Unamuno reminds us that all that Christ did not write any book or article but gave us the best book: palabras vivas (living words). Spirituality or a spiritual and moral life must try harder – the author modestly submits – to give to our world not only academic and well-researched theological articles and books, but also living words, that is, witnessing their teaching. In truth, not only theologians and preachers and teachers of religion, but all Christian are urged by their faith in Jesus to tell the world of his love in their witnessing, the testimonies of all Christians, that is: priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful.

We talk of a spirituality for the present. Christians with many other human beings learn from the past – from the classics – and journey to the future of hope by loving fidelity to the present, a present permeated by God’s presence and experience. Christian spirituality, Yves Congar says, is a spirituality of the present moment: the moment, this moment is a treasure, the only thing in the hands of each person. Indeed, as Zen Buddhists teach, “Life consists of a series of moments either lived or lost.”  The writers and preachers and teachers of Christian spirituality try to persuade the disciples of Jesus and others of the need to transform every day’s life into “a spiritual worship that pleases God.”