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30.07.2015 16:38:00 3779x read.
BOOK
The Evolution of the Religious Life in Its Historical and Spiritual Context.

THE EVOLUTION OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE
IN ITS HISTORICAL AND SPIRITUAL CONTEXT
by ARMAND VEILLEUX*
 
Present in the world as a sign of Christ's saving grace, the Church in its history is closely bound to the history of mankind, although it lives by its own inner force. Ecclesial development is always conditioned by the socio¬logical, spiritual and cultural factors which influence human progress. In this context, the religious life is but one of the Church's many self-expres¬sions in the course of its historical realization. Consequently, the history of the religious life is inseparable from that of the Church as a whole; and the latter bestows its own significance upon it.
This history is subject to the general laws of social life, where periods of vigour alternate with those of decline. It is insufficient however merely to note the succession of these periods; we must also attempt to grasp the meaning of their flow. For history is like a symphony, which delivers up its secret only to those who discern its internal rhythm.
There is no question, in the following pages, of tracing even schematically the history of the religious life. Taking this as known, we shall recall only its broad lines and shall endeavour primarily to grasp its vital rhythm. In this way we hope to gain some insights which will enable us to understand better the present situation of religious life and perceive more clearly how it should be inserted into the Church and world of our day.


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