The New Age Movement Is Incompatible with Sound Christian Doctrine and Practice
Despite the secularism of our age – or perhaps, because of it – many people are rediscovering an interest in spirituality. One can go to almost any commercial bookstore and discover whole sections devoted to the theme.
Unfortunately, most of what sells as “spiritual reading,” usually classified under the heading of “New Age,” does not demand any more faith or belief than going to the movies. Not all that is marketed under the rubric “spirituality” is “chicken soup” for the Christian soul. Indeed, much of it, if consumed indiscriminately or unwarily, could prove poisonous to the life of faith. While New Age writings may seductively appeal to the legitimate longing of human nature, they are fundamentally opposed to Christian revelation.
Spirituality in our Catholic tradition is more than just narcissistic navel gazing. It is not a self-absorbed seeking after self-fulfillment found through esoteric teachings or practices. Christianity’s invitation is to look outwardly and beyond – to a “New Advent” of the God who calls us to a dialogue of love, a dialogue which invites us to conversion and submission to his will.
Authentic spirituality for the Christian is not so much about our search for God but God’s search for us. Spiritual life is a relationship with the Triune God entered into through our participation in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection through baptism and the living of a life of discipleship. This personal relationship with God grows through his free gift of grace and sheds light on our relationship to our fellow men and women and indeed on our relationship to the world.
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