Having completed our survey of forgiveness, it’s time to move on in a different, yet similar direction, this time to a survey of spiritual disciplines or practices. If you actually undertake to study this subject, you will find that it can be quite involved, for spiritual disciplines have been practiced for thousands of years by Jews, and from the very beginning of the Church. You will also discover that in certain historical periods spiritual practices existed that we today would likely consider barbaric and crazy, particularly in the Middle Ages.
In more recent times, a number of the older practices have been dropped by most Christian brotherhoods, things from earlier times such as self-flagellation for instance aren’t practiced in the Christian mainstream today.
Yet, many practices remain.
Depending on who you ask, there may be 14 or 15, or 25-30. Scholars place these in various categories such as Inward Disciplines and Out ward Disciplines, or as Disciplines of Abstinence and Disciplines of Engagement. For our purposes however, I’m going to let others worry about what to call them, how to place each one into a chart and to argue over what should and what should not be counted. Instead, I thought I’d pick an even dozen of the best-known classics such as prayer, meditation, silence, solitude, fasting and… well you get the idea. After that, I thought I’d cover another category of Spiritual Practices that are usually not included in the Classical lists which I would call “Expressive” Spiritual Practices that I think you are likely to find of interest, before we complete our adventure.
With that in mind, we’ll get started with prayer tomorrow, right here: See you then!