The last four paragraphs of AA4 read as a loose collection of admonitions and suggestions. First, lay people are encouraged to open virtues and to avoid “all malice and all deceit and pretense, and envy, and all slander” as suggested by 1 Peter 2:1. In this way they attract people to the Church. A raft of New Testament Scripture quotes follow, touching on humility, avoiding ambition and worldly recognition, poverty of spirit, sacrifice, persecution for Christ’s sake, as well as the promotion of Christian friendship among believers. Jesus’ words are quoted, “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” summing up the thrust here.
“This plan for the spiritual life of the laity should take its particular character from their married or family state or their single or widowed state, from their state of health, and from their professional and social activity. They should not cease to develop earnestly the qualities and talents bestowed on them in accord with these conditions of life, and they should make use of the gifts which they have received from the Holy Spirit.”
I think we have yet to achieve this on the whole. Lay spirituality, even on the progressive side, tends to model itself after the charisms of existing orders first, then adapt afterward. And while true, associating with existing orders is lauded in the following paragraph, I can’t help but think that a thorough and expansive lay exploration of authentic lay spirituality is needed. We have the beginnings of this in Cursillo, TEC, REC, ME, and various movements like that. All in good time, I suppose.
More virtues are listed:
(Lay people) should also hold in high esteem professional skill, family and civic spirit, and the virtues relating to social customs, namely, honesty, justice, sincerity, kindness, and courage, without which no true Christian life can exist.
And the Blessed Mother is held up as exemplar of the lay life in traditional language.
Thoughts? Especially as to the notion of lay people developing spiritualities distinct from existing religious orders, but effective in covering the various bases?