Human beings are spiritual beings because God is pure spirit. Human beings, made in the image of God, have an immortal soul, a spiritual dimension that will live on after the death of their physical bodies. Christians also believe, however, that the soul will be reunited with a glorified body. When we think about the meaning and purpose of life and about what is good and right we are asking questions that have spiritual implications. These are questions that address the core of our being, a being created for eternity. By creating us as free beings God has given us the power to choose the kind of beings we are made to be, the causes we wish to stand for and the values we want to hold dear. The choices we make will have implications forever since our spiritual selves will live forever. At a very basic level we are asked whether we want to stand up for Love and live forever in Heaven, in eternal happiness with God or whether we want to reject Love, to reject goodness, to reject community, to reject all that is good and true and beautiful. The consequences of this latter choice is eternal life without God in what the Catholic tradition calls Hell. The Catholic perspective affirms the spiritual dimension of the human person pointing to the importance of how our decisions and actions shape the kind of person we become. Common experience indicates the truth of the connection between decisions, actions and personhood whether one actually believes in the existence of Heaven and Hell or otherwise. Living wholeheartedly means taking the question of what kind of person you want to become seriously and seeking the resources to become such a person through the practice of a healthy spirituality, nourishing that timeless dimension at the core of your being.
We can find clues to our spiritual nature in the experience of transcendence. We are open to experiences in which we seem to transcend the limitations of our physical bodies and our individual egos. We have all had the experience of losing the awareness of ourselves as we become immersed in the sheer beauty of a sunset, the tragedy of young life cut short, the creation of the perfect meal or the exhilaration of being on the winning team. These and other experiences are places where we touch transcendence and where the Transcendent One, God, touches us. The ticking of time that characterizes so much of our daily lives gives way to experiences that are timeless, that seem to stand outside of time and space, that seem eternal. Often these experiences just happen to us. We do not seek them out and sometimes we can harden ourselves against them. We can teach ourselves, or allow ourselves to be taught not to experience wonder and awe, or peace and stillness, or beauty and the sublime. We are taught to be practical and serious, busy and productive, functional and realistic. But preoccupation with pragmatic, earthly concerns risk denying the spiritual dimension of our being as physical, spiritual and psychological unities. Given that this spiritual dimension is part of our being in the image of God, part of our dignity as human beings, the realization of the fullness of this dignity requires the exercise of our spiritual capacities. In other words, human flourishing presupposes a healthy spiritual life.