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Why Study Spiritual Theology through the Avila Institute?

Why Study Spiritual Theology through the Avila Institute?

Are you looking to deepen your relationship with God?

Do you want to better understand your faith so you can pass it on to your children and share it with your friends?

Are you a spiritual director, a parish employee or volunteer, or an ordained priest or religious?

Is continuing education something that you struggle to find satisfying?

Studying spiritual theology may not seem like the answer to these questions if you answered “Yes” to any of them.

According to St. Thomas, theology is the study of God and all things in relation to God (see Summa Theologica I, q.1, art.3, ad.1). Spiritual theology is integral to this disciplined exploration into the saving truth revealed by God, preached by the Church and known by faith.

In important ways, true spiritual theology connects with what Hans Urs von Balthasar calls a “kneeling theology.” Just as Jesus emptied and humbled Himself unto death so that we might know the Father, the integrity of the task of spiritual theology demands conversion from those who pursue it. The more it is known, the more set apart for God the student ought to become — because the challenging truths taken up in this exploration demand no less.

In this branch of theology, we find a convergence of word and silence, theology and sanctity, the holiness of the Church and the truth of her teaching, the wisdom of the saints and one’s own need for conversion. For this reason, spiritual theology demands not only a reverent fidelity to the Sacred Scriptures and Tradition, but especially a radical receptivity to all kinds of heart-piercing wonders that live in the life of the Church.

For those who are discerning what the Avila Institute is offering with respect to the quality of education they are hoping to find, they should be aware that the study of spiritual theology is not primarily concerned with providing career skills. As such the Avila Institute is not engaged in career-centric discussions of measurable benchmark proficiencies that students of any related field might require.

The most important proficiencies to be acquired in spiritual theology cannot be demonstrated or measured via this method.  They do not fit into a sterile taxonomy.  The nexus of mystical wisdom and theological research is too deep for such analysis. The only analysis that illumines the true impact of spiritual theology emerges when the soul encounters God and God reveals the true state of the heart and the path to union with Him.


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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, the High Calling Seminary Preparation Program, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer, speaker and pilgrimage director who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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