The Spiritual Formation at Living Water College
All intellectual studies are meant to reach their height in wisdom, which is philosophy, and our current term “PhD” (Philosophiae Doctor, or Teacher of Philosophy), still bears witness to this. The study of ultimate reality, or the highest philosophy, is the search for the source of all being. This philosophy, which is the goal of all the Liberal Arts, has also been called natural theology, because it is ultimately aiming at God. The greatest philosophers were essentially wondering about God, and the search for wisdom eventually leads to God.
Like philosophers, artists aim to capture something about reality which is not always seen, and communicate it for others to recognize - whether it’s an insight into nature, emotions, life, or truth and beauty themselves. Even though they often depict the most ordinary things, their final aim is also ultimate reality, or the source of all being. Their ultimate aim and motivation is God.
Through both the Liberal Arts and the Fine Arts, man ultimately aims at God. Coming in the opposite direction, Sacred Theology primarily comes from God revealing Himself to man. Sacred Theology has been considered the goal and the mother of all the Liberal Arts, and Philosophy. It can also be considered the goal and mother of the Fine Arts – and that is how it is treated in the program at Living Water College. Man has discovered many things about God through studying nature, which could be considered His word to us. But it is through His word spoken in the law and the prophets, and ultimately His Word – Christ, that God has descended to reveal Himself to us.
Likewise, artists have displayed many great works that have opened our eyes to the true meaning of life and to a reality that is beyond ourselves. But this has ultimately happened through the Virgin Mary who brought God forth visibly into the world, and through the Church who brings God forth in the Eucharist. So the Liberal Arts and the Fine Arts intrinsically aim towards God, but God also radically reveals Himself to our mind and our bodily senses, and this is what Sacred Theology is all about. Therefore, Sacred Theology, or what God reveals by means of the Scriptures, Tradition, and Magisterium of the Church, is one of the pillars of the program at LWCA.
As in the Liberal Arts, the works studied in this portion of the program are “great” works. The selection of works in this category was based mainly on their authority, due to three criteria: their closeness to original Revelation (either Scripture, or works which draw directly from Scripture), or the sanctity of the authors (who not only studied Divine things, but also experienced and suffered them), or their special status in the Church (Fathers or Doctors of the Church).
This pillar also includes individual spiritual practice by the students. Although individual spiritual growth will be up to the initiative of each student, it is nevertheless highly facilitated by the works studied. Mass, the Sacraments, and spiritual direction will be available, and all students are encouraged to make efforts to grow in virtue and seek the truth in their lives.