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  #1  
Old Aug 24, '12, 5:15 pm
William777 William777 is offline
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Default How to measure spiritual growth?

Hello Brethren,

This is perhaps a very general, even subjective sort of question, but I was just wondering how other Catholics identify spiritual growth in their lives? I don't know if there is an absolute answer to the query, so I guess people could just speak their minds on the matter.

Blessings,

wm

Last edited by William777; Aug 24, '12 at 5:29 pm.
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  #2  
Old Aug 24, '12, 6:06 pm
jmjconder jmjconder is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by William777 View Post
Hello Brethren,

This is perhaps a very general, even subjective sort of question, but I was just wondering how other Catholics identify spiritual growth in their lives? I don't know if there is an absolute answer to the query, so I guess people could just speak their minds on the matter.

Blessings,
wm
By the twelve Fruits of the Holy Spirit - charity (or love), joy, peace, patience, benignity (or kindness), goodness, longanimity (or long suffering), mildness, faith, modesty, continency, and chastity.
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  #3  
Old Aug 24, '12, 6:48 pm
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lizaanne lizaanne is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by William777 View Post
Hello Brethren,

This is perhaps a very general, even subjective sort of question, but I was just wondering how other Catholics identify spiritual growth in their lives? I don't know if there is an absolute answer to the query, so I guess people could just speak their minds on the matter.

Blessings,

wm
By if you've made it to heaven or not at the end. Short of that, I can't think of any other way to "measure" holiness.

~Liza
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  #4  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:04 pm
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JRKH JRKH is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Yes - it is very subjective.
One way might be by the number of bad habits overcome along with the number of good habits developed. This would be something that one could periodically check on by an examination of conscience...but beware...as bigger more obvious sins are eliminated we tend to find others that were sort of "hidden" before...

The ease with which you find yourself engaging in good behavior is an indicator but this is not something that lends itself to "measuring"...It's more of a aha moment when you realize how your thinking and reactions have changed over time....

Then of course if you get involved with things like, "spiritual exercises" and such, there can be goals and milestones and revelations attached to these.

Really - the bottom line is that such measures are, by there very nature, going to be kind of unique to the individual and likely change over time.

Just my 2c worth...

Peace
James
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  #5  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:07 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Lack of anger is a sure sign that you are progressing.

A greater ability to immediately recognize that those who sin, who are prideful, self-centered, gluttonous, vengeful, and in a rage, do so because they don't have God working in their lives, and that if it were not for God we would be exactly the same. Habitually falling into prayer for such people and not condemning them in our hearts is a sign.

A perpetual state of peace and lack of anxiety during times of trouble is a sign that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.


-Tim-
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  #6  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:08 pm
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SecretaryMonday SecretaryMonday is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

I think that I can see signs of spiritual growth in myself because I am not the same person that I was last year, or even a few months ago. Some of the people who are close to me have said the same thing. I can joyfully do things now that seemed too hard a while back; I am interacting better, more lovingly, with other people, and my capacity for empathy and prayer has increased. Of course, a sense of closeness to God and to other people does not have to be present; one can feel very remote and dry, and still be experiencing spiritual growth even though they don't 'feel' it.
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  #7  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:20 pm
Rainaldo Rainaldo is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Teach 2nd grade. That oughtta give you an idea of where you're at spiritually.
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  #8  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:29 pm
Kennywood Kennywood is offline
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Wink Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

"teach 2nd grade.."

True, that!!!!
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  #9  
Old Aug 24, '12, 7:58 pm
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willofgods willofgods is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

One good way to measure it is by (subjectively) measuring your trust in & abandon to God. The more you can trust in Him & abandon yourself to His Providence, the more you will probably have advanced in your spiritual life.
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  #10  
Old Aug 24, '12, 8:02 pm
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
... but I was just wondering how other Catholics identify spiritual growth in their lives?
You are wise to understand that there should be evidence of growth .
Jesus taught that creation is never at a standstill, and we can witness signs of growth beginning with the seed. "First the grain, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." Mk. 4:28

Growth has natural stages, and we do not go from seed to full harvest overnight --- growth takes time and much patience, depending on Our Creator for the sun and rain to mature the plant. But I believe it can be measured to some degree, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Several spiritual authors have written about 'stages,' such as St. Teresa of Avila who explained spiritual growth in the seven mansions of the Interior Castle. Another is Fr. Garrigou LaGrange, "The Three Ages of the Interior Life." Etc.

These stages are not easy to discern in one's personal walk of faith, but TimothyH's comment is excellent, "Habitually falling into prayer for such people and not condemning them in our hearts is a sign." Love covers, and does not rejoice in wrong. The closer we come to God, the more He will convict us of certain areas that need amendment.

Like the Israelites of old, He promised to bring them before their many enemies, Exodus 23:23, but added in verse 29 and 30 that He would not do this in one year, but little by little. Speaking spiritually, we remember Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit's work of convicting us with regard to our hidden sins, little by little, and not all at once let we lose heart at seeing our sinfulness. Our examinations of conscience will help us recognize that certain serious sins no longer trouble us, either in habit or frequency. Yet there is always more to be revealed to us. As our heart is more open to God's inspirations, these will take on the nature of imperfections, rather than actual deliberate sin. Even these will seem painful to the soul that realizes how offended God is, and the person will strive to bring Him glory by eliminating them as far as possible.
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  #11  
Old Aug 24, '12, 8:25 pm
William777 William777 is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lizaanne View Post
By if you've made it to heaven or not at the end. Short of that, I can't think of any other way to "measure" holiness. ~Liza
Thank you to everyone who has responded thus far.

I'll try to elucidate my reason for asking....

-----

Rule #3 for Discernment from the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

The Third Rule: Of Spiritual Consolation. I call it consolation when some interior movement in the soul is caused, through which the soul comes to be inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord; and when it can in consequence love no created thing on the face of the earth in itself, but in the Creator of them all. Likewise, when it sheds tears that move to love of its Lord, whether out of sorrow for one’s sins, or for the Passion of Christ our Lord, or because of other things directly connected with His service and praise. Finally, I call consolation every increase of hope, faith and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.

-----

What Ignatius is describing when he addresses an increase in Faith, Hope and Love is spiritual growth.

Ignatius' rule helps to put things in context, i.e. in the context of consolation, but sometimes there are many trials one has to endure to really identify with consolation - one might think a trial, which may be pointing to something consoling, is actually something to the contrary.

I figure, if one can identify when one is being truly consoled - if one can truly measure spiritual growth - then it would be a big help.

As per being in heaven - that is after the fact... we must learn to discern in this life to make the proper choices to get to heaven..

Blessings,

wm
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  #12  
Old Aug 24, '12, 8:49 pm
William777 William777 is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirach2 View Post
...there should be evidence of growth.
Evidence. Very good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirach2 View Post
Jesus taught that creation is never at a standstill, and we can witness signs of growth beginning with the seed. "First the grain, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear." Mk. 4:28
Thank you for this reference to scripture...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirach2 View Post
Growth has natural stages, and we do not go from seed to full harvest overnight --- growth takes time and much patience, depending on Our Creator for the sun and rain to mature the plant.
I was thinking about the parable of the seeds that fell on good soil the other day, so this really helps further the thought.

One of the crucial points to bear in mind is the good seeds not only fell on good soil, but they also *took root*.

But I digress somewhat... your point of patience is well taken...

The only other problem I then see is recognizing the changes in appearance... A seed looks nothing like a flower, for it evolves into a completely different form... And, yet, recognizing the potential life in the seed - the potential flower - is vital to consider, for we might pass it by thinking it is nothing more than a pit... or we might still be left wondering what will become of it while it is just a small, unflowered sprout... it may require some weeding out or pruning or watering sometimes... and so on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirach2 View Post
But I believe it can be measured to some degree, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Several spiritual authors have written about 'stages,' such as St. Teresa of Avila who explained spiritual growth in the seven mansions of the Interior Castle. Another is Fr. Garrigou LaGrange, "The Three Ages of the Interior Life." Etc.
Very good. I've read most all of St Theresa of Avila's works, but it's been awhile, as I focus mostly on St Francis of Assisi. I forgot the Inner Mansions are in fact a good example of spiritual growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirach2 View Post
These stages are not easy to discern in one's personal walk of faith, but TimothyH's comment is excellent, "Habitually falling into prayer for such people and not condemning them in our hearts is a sign." Love covers, and does not rejoice in wrong. The closer we come to God, the more He will convict us of certain areas that need amendment.

Like the Israelites of old, He promised to bring them before their many enemies, Exodus 23:23, but added in verse 29 and 30 that He would not do this in one year, but little by little. Speaking spiritually, we remember Jesus' promise of the Holy Spirit's work of convicting us with regard to our hidden sins, little by little, and not all at once let we lose heart at seeing our sinfulness. Our examinations of conscience will help us recognize that certain serious sins no longer trouble us, either in habit or frequency. Yet there is always more to be revealed to us. As our heart is more open to God's inspirations, these will take on the nature of imperfections, rather than actual deliberate sin. Even these will seem painful to the soul that realizes how offended God is, and the person will strive to bring Him glory by eliminating them as far as possible.
Well done, and thank you again.

Blessings to all.

wm
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  #13  
Old Aug 24, '12, 8:54 pm
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Christmastwin Christmastwin is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Lack of worry, fear and anger.
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  #14  
Old Aug 24, '12, 9:48 pm
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Ophelia23 Ophelia23 is offline
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Default Re: How to measure spiritual growth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by William777 View Post
Hello Brethren,

This is perhaps a very general, even subjective sort of question, but I was just wondering how other Catholics identify spiritual growth in their lives? I don't know if there is an absolute answer to the query, soR I guess people could just speak their minds on the matter.

Blessings,II

wm
Blessings to you as well!

I think a good tool is keeping a spiritual journal. Write down letters to God, prayers in your heart, requests for intercession of the saints, etc. Looking back on these journals that
I have kept, I can see where I was a year ago and where I am today. Sometimes, I will read a prayer that I wrote and really only find through retrospect that it has indeed been answered. Sometimes, I will read of a time when I felt very spiritually pure and see how far I may have fallen. For me, it has helped me explore my journey of faith from the heightened perspective of hindsight. I personally have found it to be a wonderful measure of both my spiritual growth AND my spiritual shortcomings.
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