University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE Dynamics of Growth and Maturity in Spiritual Life

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Moral Theology

DESCRIPTION In the Gospel Jesus reiterates God’s command to Abraham “be perfect” (Gn 17:1). Jesus therefore expects his disciples to be perfect, as the heavenly Father (cfr.: Mt 5:48). Thus, the true disciple of Jesus Christ cannot take lightly the call to perfection, to be “without spot or blemish” (Eph 5:27). Thus, spiritual growth and maturity is all about achieving, with God’s grace, this ideal, by accepting to “walk/live by the Spirit” (cfr.: Gal 5:16, 25) so as to be wholly transformed in Jesus Christ. To “walk by” indicates an aim to achieve (peripateo) gradually, one step at a time (stoicheo). Throught the unfolding of its history, Spirituality provided and still provides spiritual wayfarers, with structures and forms intended to support their deepest aspirations.

Limiting itself to the Christian spiritual tradition, the study-unit aims at providing insights to the contemporary understanding of the spiritual journey while presenting theories of growth and maturity handed down to us by those who already trod the path of perfection. Starting from Sacred Scriptures, the unit aims at delving into language, signs, symbols and imagery used in classical mystical texts that picture spiritual growth and maturity as a dynamic reality. The import of psychology will be taken also into consideration. The study-unit will include a one day seminar.

List of Objectives:

At the end of the study-unit, the participants will:
- have understood that spirituality is dynamic not static.
- take into consideration that there is on one ready-made form of growth and maturity in the spiritual to which we have to abide.
- realise that the structures and stages presented by various authors and schools of spirituality aren’t meant to be rigidly normative but only as guidelines in the spiritual journey.
- recognize that the spiritual life builds upon and perfects human nature, but does not substitute it.
- be acquainted with the person and works of a major Christian spiritual master and writer.
- manage to grasp the language used in spiritual theology to better understand their own and others’ spiritual journey.
- have better understood God’s pedagogy for the human person, journeying towards Christian perfection.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- understand the inner dynamics of the human person in relation to transcendence.
- use the proper hermeneutical tools for an interpretation of a human-divine relationship.
- appreciate theological theory in dialogue with psychology and anthropology.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- engage in dialogue with human sciences from a theological viewpoint.
- apply interpretative interdisciplinary skills to analyze growth in the spiritual life.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:

- LONERGAN, Bernard, Method in Theology, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.
- RULLA, Luigi – IMODA Franco – RIDICK Joyce, Antropologia della vocazione cristiana-2: Conferme esistenziali, Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 2001.
- WAAIJMAN, Kees, Spirituality: Forms, Foundations, Methods (= Studies in Spirituality Suppliment 8), Leuven: Peeters, 2002.

Supplementary Readings:

- MARTINI, Cardinal Carlo Maria, Lettera Pastorale Dio educa il suo popolo (1987-1988).
- RULLA, Luigi, Antropologia della vocazione cristiana-1: Basi interdisciplinari, Bologna: Edizioni Dehoniane, 1997.

A comprehensive bibliography, that includes various classics of spirituality, will be distributed to the participants at the beginning of the study-unit.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Charlo Camilleri

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.

Augustinian Institute Academic Year 2017-18

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