University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Foundations of Spirituality, Prayer and Discernment

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION This is a basic course wherein the foundations are laid for the study of spirituality: its definition, its relationship to theology, its method, and its essential relationship to experience. It presents the one foundational Christian spirituality which is then expressed in a variety of ways, according to the different historical, social and ecclesial contexts.
The course then passes on to study one very basic way how spirituality is experienced and expressed: prayer. A very brief anthropology of prayer is presented, followed by the in-depth study of prayer from a Christian perspective. The various dimensions of prayer are studied (Christological, Pneumatological, Trinitarian and Ecclesiological). A number of spiritual exercises like the examination of consciousness, the prayer of repetition, and the application of the senses would be presented.
The third part of the course would consider the discernment of spirits. The rules of St Ignatius of Loyola will be presented with a view to their application in the life of the Christian today.


At the end of this course, participants should be able to:
a. appreciate better the main characteristics of an authentic Christian spirituality;
b. acquire a deeper understanding of Christian prayer in a way that they may teach prayer to others as well;
c. obtain a greater knowledge of Christian discernment and of the rules enunciated by St Ignatius of Loyola.

Reading List

- GALLAGHER TIMOTHY M., The Discernment of Spirits. An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living, New York, Crossroad, 2005.
- GREEN THOMAS H., Weeds Among the Wheat. Discernment: Where Prayer and Action Meet, Notre Dame IN, Ave Maria Press, 1984.
- PERRIN David P., Studying Christian Spirituality, New York and London, Routledge 2007.
- ROSSINI C. E P. SCIADINI (EDD.), Enciclopedia della Preghiera, Città del Vaticano, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2007.
- WAAIJMAN KEES, Spirituality. Forms, Foundations, Methods, Leuven – Paris – Dudley, MA, Peeters, 2002.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Nicholas Cachia

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
21st Annual Augustinian Lecture 2017
The 21st Annual Augustinian Lecture 2017 will be celebrated on the 5th and 6th December 2017 with two lectures delivered by Rev. Prof. Theodore Dieter.

Closing Date Dissertation Proposals
Deadline to present dissertation proposals for next Faculty Board is Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 1700hrs

Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

 Click here for more information


Dissertation Logbook
The Dissertation Logbook can be found here.

Quick Guide for using the Chicago Style
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