Joan Chittister wrote, “The spiritual life is not a template; it is a process meant to change our lives. There are stages in the spiritual life that move us from one level to another.
The first is compliance. The Ten Commandments dominate in this phase. Being spiritual in this phase depends on keeping a list of do’s and don’ts, on keeping the “rules”—whatever they are—on being perfect.
The point is that we don’t make choices in this stage. Not real choices. We simply conform or rebel. We do what we’re told but never ask ourselves whether or not what we’re doing has anything at all to do with Beatitudes or not.
The second level of the spiritual life is awareness. It has more to do with becoming a Christian than it does with going through the rituals of being Christian. We come to realize that though God began the process of Creation it is our responsibility to complete it. Then we set out to become the kind of people we were put on Earth to be. We begin to go out of ourselves for the sake of the world rather than simply awarding ourselves gold stars to being regular observers of ancient rituals. It is holiness, not regularity, that we are now concerned about in our spiritual life.”
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Jesus