Ascetical Theology – Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Dictionary

ASCETICAL THEOLOGY: The science of the saints based on a study of their lives.  It is aimed to make people holy by explaining what sanctity is and how to attain it.  The word ascetic is a derivative from the Greek askesis, meaning practice. In English, the term ascesis means “the practice of self-discipline.” It is the science of leading souls in the ways of Christian perfection through growth in charity and the practice of prayer and virtue leading to contemplation. It is that part of spiritual theology which concentrates on man’s cooperation with grace and the need for human effort to grow in sanctity.

This Spiritual Dictionary Term is an excerpt from the glossary of Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.


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What is spiritual direction and my spiritual direction? What are my “blind spots” and how can I uncover them? What keeps me from all the spiritual riches Christ has for me? How can I better understand where I am in my spiritual progress?

Daniel Burke’s Navigating the Interior Life will give you the tools you need to understand how and why we grow and die in the spiritual life and what we can do about it.

Most of us have questions about spiritual direction. What is it? Is it for me? What if I can’t find a spiritual director? These questions and more are well answered in Dan Burke’s book. The Lord is clearly calling all Catholics into a deeper union with him. This book, in a style which is both inspiring and practical, provides some of the Church’s most important wisdom about how to respond to this call.

Ralph Martin, PhD, president, Renewal Ministries and author of ‘The Fulfillment of All Desire’

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