Chittister on Religion

One of the books with me on my trip is Joan Chittister’s “Called to Question”.  In this spiritual memoir, she wrestles with many aspects of her life, one of them being the relationship between religion and spirituality.  Here a couple quotes of how she perceives the differences:

1) “Religion gives us the structures that weld the habits and disciplines of the soul into one integrated whole.  Those same structures can also, however, smother the very spirit they intend to shape.”

2) “We can make the mistake of thinking that God and religion are synonyms and make religion God.  We can, as general semanticists teach us, mistake the way for the thing and the thing for the way.”

3) “Spirituality is about the hunger in the human heart.  When we develop a spiritual life that is beyond some kind of simple, unthinking attachment to an inherited canon of behaviours, the soul goes beyond adherence to a system to the growth of the soul.”

4) “Spirituality is not what we do to satisfy the requirements of a religion; it is the way we come into contact with the Holy.  However we do it, whatever form or shape it takes… spirituality makes real what religion talks about.”

Finally, in looking back on her own Catholic heritage, she muses about how any of us become who we are:

5) “What forms us lives in us forever.  The important thing is that it not be allowed to stunt our growth.”

Any of those resonate with you and your journey?

How has religion contributed to your journey toward God?

How has it smothered life when it should have been giving it?  W

hat do you do with it now?

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