What does Spirituality Mean?


Greetings, thrilled to be here and have the opportunity to ask a question.

I am a convert a few years ago to Catholicism. A year prior to this decision I also eliminated daily substance abuse since the age of 13. Since this change of behavior\addiction I have often questioned the meaning of “words”. Sometimes simply words and have come to a deeper understanding. One such example conceivably not a simple word but what does “liturgy “ mean? Yes, people would give me the answer but I suppose perhaps I did not ask the question properly. About a month ago I was on a day retreat and heard the word “liturgy” explained in this manner.

Liturgy is official public word. Broken down litur / gia and translated to litur = works and gia = of the people. Meaning official public prayer of the church. Now that was the best explanation I had ever heard of what liturgy means.

May I ask the same for a definition of “spirituality”? What does that word mean? If I am fortunate to have this question answered with definition. Is it possible to show the difference in regards to other faiths as well? Please excuse me if I am not asking the question right when it comes to different faiths and spirituality as I don’t understand the word spiritual.

Thank you kindly


Hello there, and welcome aboard. You can find most definitions in the pocket catholic dictionary for catholic words here therealpresence.org/dictionary/adict.htm
SPIRITUALITY. Positive immateriality; the property of being intrinsically independent of matter at least in essence and in some activities.

You will find several references to spirituality defining different aspects on it though. You might look at asceticism too.

You can search for words in the catechism here too scborromeo.org/ccc.htm

And search for words here newadvent.org/index.html

Search in the bible here quod.lib.umich.edu/r/rsv/

You can look at the code of canon law here vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_INDEX.HTM

See if a pope has mentioned the word here papalencyclicals.net/

You shouldn’t need any other resources than these for this.

Good luck and God bless :thumbsup: :slight_smile:


To quote the Catholic Encyclopedia (Book version):


Simply and basically, the response of the individual, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to Christ’s ongoing invitation to “repent and believe the Gospel.” This personal conversion expresses itself in an ever-deepening communion of faith, hope and love with one’s fellow believers in the community of the Catholic Church, and an ever more faithful witness to Christ, the values of His Gospel and the teaching of His Church in one’s daily life in the world.


Every human being has a spirituality because human beings are comprised of body and soul, or the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Generally speaking, when as Catholics we use the term “spirituality” we mean that spirit in which we live in our daily lives as Catholics. We may say, the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila was that of a mystic, or the spiritualityof St. Francis was marked by poverty and that of St. Therese of Lisieux that of simplicity. The spirituality of contemplatives is one of Prayer and Penance. We generally mean how we are living out our Catholic commitment to Christ and His Gospel with not only our successes but inclusive too of our failures.

Cheers - Tigger


Awlike back I was doing a talk on Spirituality of the Eucharist and I logged onto Dictionary.com and here is the definition they give –spirituality – “The state, quality, manner or fact of being spiritual.” Now that’s a BIG HELP. Then I decided to do a Google search. I got 17,500,000 hits for “spirituality. So I guess there are alot of definitions. I don’t remember where I found it but the best definition I found was "a human creature’s capacity to reach for, yet not yet grasp the reality beyond the confines of this created universe.” That definition reminds me of the centerpiece of Michelangelo’s Creation on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. In the center panel, God is reaching down to animate Adam and Adam is reaching up for God. Yet their fingers are not touching. Everyone’s spiritual journey is a bit different, but it is found “between the fingers” where we almost touch God.


Dear Converlynn
I am hoping that you are indeed learning through this thread. God bless you indeed!

You mentioned too “liturgy”. Doubtless since we are spiritual beings and our spirituality is connected to or function of our souls, everything we do think and say is spiritual in some way. For our bodies cannot function without the soul and the purely spiritual aspect of our being. And this very broad definition will lead into my particular definition of what Liturgy actually is theologically in its fullest and all embracing understanding - as below.

Liturgy has a much broader implication than simply the formal liturgies of The Church which most often takes place inside a Church.

Here is Dictionary.com’s definition:


LITURGY. A public service, duty, or work. In Scripture it refers to the religious duties to be performed by priests and levites in the Temple, especially those related to the Sacrifice; in Christian use among the Eastern Churches it means the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
In present day usage liturgy is the official public worship of the Church and is thus distinguished from private devotion. It is the special title of the Eucharist, and the administration of the sacraments with the annexed use of the sacramentals.

[quote]From a theological viewpoint, the liturgy is the exercise now on earth of Christ’s priestly office

, as distinct from his role as teacher and ruler of his people.

.Christ performs this priestly office as Head of his Mystical Body, so that Head and members together

offer the sacred liturgy… Its function, therefore, is twofold: to give honor and praise to God, which is worship, and to obtain blessings for the human race, which is sanctification. (Etym. Latin liturgia; from Greek leitos, of the people + ergon, work: leitourgia, public duty, public worship.)


Well to read both definitions with care, but especially the one immediately above from Father John Hardon SJ whose dictionaries should, I think, be in every home so comprehensive are they are they are available in book form. There is too a pocket version…or a shorter version.

We need to think about with prayerful care our Baptism which is the central and probably most important Sacrament of all the Sacraments since no other Sacrament can be received by an unbaptized person. We need to research with prayer to The Holy Spirit who will reveal “all Truth” as Jesus has told us, all about Baptism and ask ourselves “Do I realize who indeed I am through Baptism?”


The sacrament in which, by water and the word of God, a person is cleansed of all sin and reborn and sanctified





Christ to everlasting life. (Etym. Latin baptisma; from Greek baptisma, a dipping.)

The fullest meaning of “Liturgy” therefore includes every single word, thought or deed of every single baptized person by which we are baptized in Christ and become Temples of The Holy Spirit dedicated to the Glory of God.
We could be said to be ‘walking Tabernacles’…and we know the great reverence and honor we give to a Tabernacle in Church. This, startling thought every time I think on it, is the reverence and honor we owe to every single person either as a potential Temple of The Holy Spirit (who is at once also Our Father and The Son, Jesus = The Blessed Trinity). The person in the state of Grace is a sacred and holy person. I must admit that lesson will not quite sink home with me for all too often I forget it and can treat others as anything but Temples of The Holy Spirit.http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/10/10_12_5.gif

Cheers CL and all/Tigger


Yes indeed I am learning and overwhelmed with the replies and information so far. Conversion is an ongoing process for life and I am just a baby. I don’t pretend to know anything (I use to) but now I am knocking and seeking. To tell you the truth from all these lovely replies I am moved in the direction of asceticism now from the first post.


Then let us with one voice in unity offer praise to God in fraternal love of our dear sister, Convertlynn, and though you cannot I feel sure see it yourself, you are indeed a gift to us, to the Universal Church for the good and for the edification of the Universal Church. We are, each and every one of us gifts of The Father to the Universal Church and each of us specially gifted in some way from all eternity and then called to His Son’s Church through the Work of The Holy Spirit to be baptized IN Christ and to walk in the footsteps of this same Son,Truly God Truly Man and Second Person of The Blessed Trinity, Jesus, The Christ (Saviour or Messiah) and not to our Glory though we are indeed destined to further Glory than our Baptism and Grace now grants us and to be fully glorified in Christ fully at the end of time, along with His Church for every individual baptized in Him is thus baptized into His Mystical Body, The Church, and thus is in a sense the whole Church for we are not each baptized into a part of Christ but in Christ Himself, Truly Human and Truly God - and finally the whole Universe shall be glorified and fulfilled in Him.

Did you know that 2009 has been declared by Pope Benedict XVU as The Year of St. Paul. And a bit more reading matter for your if you feel thus motivated and inspired:
Reading Scripture as The Word of The Holy Spirit

And in honor of that great and ongoing in his life “conversion” saint:

**http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/dictionary/ **

If we are all not continually on the conversion road daily and forever knocking on Heaven’s door, then we have some pretty serious questions to ask ourselves requiring most urgent and honest answers.
Perhpas others too can address “asceticism” and the call you are becoming aware of towards it - it has the special mark of Our Lady I think. Perhpas I will too at some later point;



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