Philosophy and Spirituality: Cultivating a Virtue

Lawrence Dewan

in Wisdom, Law, and Virtue

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227969
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237210 | DOI:

Series: Moral Philosophy and Moral Theology

Philosophy and Spirituality:               Cultivating a Virtue

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This chapter treats the word “spirituality” as synonymous with “holiness,” and “sanctity,” as these words, in turn, are a way of speaking, from a particular angle, of what Thomas Aquinas called “the virtue of religion,” or just plain “religion.” It refers to the quality of life of a religious person. The activities of the religious person are such deliberate things as acts of devotion, prayer, and adoration, the offering of sacrifices, the taking of vows, and public praise. Insofar as these practices imbue and transform the whole of life, one speaks of “saintliness of life”. These things are discussed in Thomas Aquinas's Summa theologiae (ST) 2-2.81-2-2.100. There, although the setting is distinctly Christian, and clearly a part of sacred theology, the subject is approached in a definitely philosophical way. The chapter explores the natural basis for all such activity. Though we should never lose sight of the properly Christian level of the discussion, it is important to grasp the merely human and natural dimension of our spiritual life. Grace not only completes but also imitates nature.

Keywords: Thomas Aquinas; philosophy; spirituality; devotion; prayer; virtue

Chapter.  2853 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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