Stages of Spiritual Life: In its inner and outer dynamism




spiritual life, stages, pastoral, mercy, spiritual master


This article aims to provide a concise presentation of the stages of spiritual life, condensed in a classical manner as purgative, illuminative, and unitive, taking as its starting point the understanding of spirituality as the dynamism of love infused in us by the Holy Spirit. At the same time, this exploration seeks to respond better to the contemporary reality by emphasizing the stage of encounter, which reveals God´s love and the personal mystery of vocation. In the purifying stage, seen as a path of growth, it will be integrated into the classic development of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Ignatius Loyola, along with the perspective of Evagrius Ponticus, who, despite being older, paradoxically, can offer more realistic keys for present day believers in their everyday lives. In the illuminative stage, where it was delved deeper, the theme of the vital experience of mercy and recognition of one´s own reality is incorporated, providing some hints for including one´s own fragility in the narrative of spiritual growth. Lastly, as an effort to dialogue with pastoral theology, it will seek to identify the missionary pastoral dynamism of each stage of the spiritual life.


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Author Biography

Ariel Zottola, Pontifical Bolivarian University

Bachelor of Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Santa María de los Buenos Aires; degree in Pastoral Theology from the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Our Lady of the Assumption São Paulo, Brazil; and doctoral student in Theology from CEBITEPAL and the Pontifical Bolivarian University of Medellín. Email:


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How to Cite

Zottola, A. (2023). Stages of Spiritual Life: In its inner and outer dynamism. Anales De Teología, 25(1), 39–53.