Archbishop Vincent Nichols addressed the Muslim Council of Wales in Cardiff on 22 October on the importance of spirituality in our world today.
As the keynote speaker, the Archbishop warned that without a true spirituality "we risk building our great achievements, the skyscrapers of our ambitions, on sand."
"Spirituality is our striving to make sense of who we are and of the purpose of our existence. This, too, finds its right path in the light of the mystery of God. Without a true spirituality, we end up believing that we are the centre and high point of all that exists. That is a faith which, in the end, crumbles before the harshness of reality, the reality of both life and death."
Whilst acknowledging that the subject matter for the lecture is "as vast as the ocean and as deep as the earth", Archbishop Nichols pointed to the practice of prayer as being at the heart of spirituality - "the raising of the heart and mind to God" because We acknowledge that it is the Spirit of God, hovering over the chaos, which brings forth an ordered world, a cosmos, which then becomes the object of our endless wonder, study, and investigation.”
He addressed the similarities between the desire for open places for prayer and contemplation that both Christians and Muslims look for in the midst of busy lives to reflect. He did so with particular reference to Islamic gardens which “is a cool place of rest and reflection and a reminder of paradise. Such a garden has water and shade and is intended for rest and contemplation.”
The Archbishop concluded his address by drawing back to the 'spiritual quest' and how it enables believers to relate to each other, build communities and care for the needy:
"In the light of faith as lived in this spiritual journey we are taught always to view one another as creatures of the living God, endowed by the Creator with a dignity that should be respected from the first beginnings of life to their natural end. In a spiritual life, we find the inspiration for a way of life which reflects the mind of God, which, for the Christian, gives flesh again to the Eternal Creative Word of God through whom all things are made and through whom all things are rendered pure and good."
The full text of the Archbishop's speech is available HERE.