As Teilard de Chardin succinctly expressed:
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience
We are spiritual beings having a human experience”.
Indeed, most individuals are quick to agree that people are more than flesh and blood or a bundle of instincts and impulses. Yet our ‘spiritual’ nature is hard to define, describe and properly quantify.
Its existence, however, is often revealed in the heartfelt cry that something is missing. It is also glimpsed in heated discussions about changing values or the meaning of life.
The following quotations can offer some insights into how we construe and understand the topic of spiritual care:
- “Spirituality has to do with our experiencing of God and with the transformation of our consciousness and our lives as outcomes of that experience.”
Richard McBrien, in Catholicism, p 1058.
- “Spirituality may be defined as an individual’s sense of peace, purpose, and connection to others, and beliefs about the meaning of life.”
The National Cancer Institute (USA).
- “Spiritual fulfilment necessarily involves the whole person – body, mind and soul, place, relationships – in connection with the whole of creation throughout the era of time. ...spirituality encompasses the whole person in the totality of existence in the world, not some fragment or scrap or incident of a person.”
William Stringfellow, in Politics of Spirituality, p 22.
These quotations indicate that spiritual care:
- Involves the whole person (body, mind and soul) and the entire fabric of our lives (our relationship with ourselves, other people and the world)
- Is both a quest and a lived experience. That is, it involves weaving our beliefs and values into the fabric of our lives, so that these both animate and motivate us.
- Involves growth and change, so that our consciousness and our lives are slowly transformed.
- Results in a life that is increasingly meaningful and authentic.
Spirituality can be described as being, first and foremost, an individual journey or a pilgrimage.
It should also be noted that spiritual care includes a collective spiritual search.
This is because we are part of and shaped by:
- Our family of origin
- Our community
- Our culture (with its rich history and tradition)
- Society at large
- The wider world
Their influence includes:
- Interpretations or ways of viewing experiences and events
- Articulated and unarticulated expectations
- Mores and rules
- Ethics and values
- Ceremonies, rituals, symbols, and so on
Lesson 1 introduces the topic of spiritual care (both religious and non-religious). This includes:
- An exploration of the fundamental question: “What is spirituality?”
- Definitions of spirituality
- The hunt for spirit and spirituality
- The components of spirituality
- Separating religion and spirituality
The remainder of the course will focus on the following important topics:
- The rise and development of spiritual care
- The essential qualities of spiritual care
- Models and methods to develop spiritual care
- Can spirituality be taught?
- Developing spirituality and awareness in self and others
- Resources to aid spiritual care
- Developing spiritual and pastoral care
- Identification of spiritual, religious and ethical issues
- Assessment methods of spiritual care
Certificate in Spiritual Care - Level 3
Basic English Skills