The years 1987 and 1990 saw the publication of two unprecedented and immediately popular reference works, The New Dictionary of Theology and The New Dictionary of Sacramental Worship. The present work, The New Dictionary of Catholic Spirituality, edited by Michael Downey, is intended as a companion to these, with a parallel aim and purpose. The NDCS is a collaborative attempt to take stock of the remarkable developments in the Church and the world since the Second Vatican Council, but with a specific focus on the reform and renewal of Catholic spirituality that the Council set in motion. The dictionary is intended to serve as a reliable theological and pastoral resource, not just for experts, but for all those interested in spirituality: teachers at all levels, writers, preachers, and students.
“The heart symbolizes the center or core of the human person. It is the locus not only of our affectivity but also of our freedom and consciousness, the place where we accept or reject the mystery of ourselves, human existence, and God. The heart is sacred space. There we get in touch with the truth of our being and are open to the presence of God in our lives.” (Pages 468–469)
“One of the interesting ‘laws’ of the spiritual life, developed by Gregory of Nyssa but having something of a contemporary ring to it, is what the patristic scholar Jean Daniélou has called epektasis. This means striving ever more to be perfect, never quite succeeding, yet never ceasing from the striving. For Gregory, a never-ending progress toward perfection replaces the Platonic static unity that represents perfection for Origen’s Greek-influenced system.” (Page 211)
“The emphasis is on the healing of the whole person. This is accomplished through the grace of the Holy Spirit, who sustains the person’s trust in God. What about physical healing? The rite goes on: ‘A return to physical health may follow the reception of this sacrament if it will be beneficial to the sick person’s salvation.’” (Pages 467–468)
“is understood to be the principal means to this end.” (Page 801)
“Humility is rooted in the truth of reality. Grounded in a deep awareness of our limitations and shortcomings in the presence of the divine perfection, and of our sinfulness in the presence of the all-holy God, it leads us to a profound sense of total dependence on God and to an ardent desire to do God’s will in all things. It means, therefore, grasping the truth about ourselves and about God.” (Page 516)