1. What is spirituality?
Spirituality is the way of inner life that leads people to a meaningful and fulfilling life. Spirituality crystallizes wise teachings, valuable spiritual experiences which have been accumulated and handed down to generations by the sages. Thus, when living according to spirituality, people are opened minded into the path to the Truth, the Goodness and the Beauty. They draw from it the sacred resource that governs all activities of their life. Spirituality is often taught and tutorial to practice by religions.
2. Christian Spirituality
Christian spirituality is based on the teachings and the life of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, true God and true man. Jesus is the "visible face of the invisible Father"; He is "the Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn. 14: 6), that leads all mankind to the Father.
Christians are those who following the Christian spirituality, following Jesus Christ, becoming resemble to Him, sharing His own life. Christians’ vocation and mission is to be Jesus’ disciples, to bear His witness to the world.
While following Jesus, through the history of the Church, there are saints, religious orders, etc., outlining the 'ways to holiness' with different emphasis. These ways are also referred to as 'spirituality'.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, those who follow these spiritualities want to express a particular aspect of Christ. Each spirituality is a way, a life style, to bring the values of the Gospel to infiltrate into and to transform from within the contexts of cultural, economic, political, social and geographical differences.
The Holy Spirit is always keeping, guiding and renewing the Church in Her journey of faith on this underworld.
Every Christian, through the sacrament of baptism, is called to carry out the mission of the Church. Therefore, whatever spirituality he/she practices, living "spirituality" must be 'living according to the Holy Spirit' (Rm. 8: 4) and living in the communion with the Church. The saying means that, they have to live the faith, to practice the love of God in the model of Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They must have the Church, as Mother and Teacher, taught by the teaching and nourish by the grace of the sacraments and the Word of God.
3. Caritas Spirituality
'Caritas' is Latin, which means: charity, great love. Caritas is an organization within the Catholic Church that coordinates and promotes the exercise of social charity. Therefore, Caritas is not a pure charitable agency, and Caritas members do not do charitable work with the same motivation and intention or the way as every normal social worker. Like all activities of the Church, Caritas activities must be motivated by the Holy Spirit. Consequently, Caritas has a 'spirituality' to guide its members’ life to perform the charitable and social actions. Living the "Caritas’ spirituality" is living under the impacts of the Holy Spirit, Who makes them faithfully participate and believe in the mission of Christ, which is to love all people, especially the poor, the sufferer, the sick, the abandoned. The Word of God, the tradition and the teaching of the Church on charity is the source of Caritas spirituality.
4. Spirituality of Caritas Vietnam
As Vietnamese people, we inherit the national ethical tradition that emphasizes filial piety, family affection, neighbor affection, compatriot affection, solidarity 'Good leaves cover torn leaves', respect for harmony, and community activities. Caritas members respectfully preserve these cultures and make them more beautiful by living their spirituality. Caritas Spirituality outlines the path to holiness by the light and the power of the Holy Spirit, living and embodying the love of the Trinity in Vietnamese society today.
This spiritual foundation is the love of the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "God is love. Everything comes from the love of God, everything is shaped by that love, and everything is oriented to that love." To understand the love of God, members of Caritas Vietnam are invited to contemplate and imitate Jesus Christ, living and being the embodiment of the love of the Holy Trinity. In Him, we recognize:
The Incarnate God is always ready to go out of Himself:
- Ready for self-lower and self-destroy as nothing,
- Assimilate Himself with the lowly,
- Let people to become children of God;