263. We cannot deprecate popular spirituality, or consider it a secondary mode of Christian life, for that would be to forget the primacy of the action of the Spirit and God’s free initiative of love.
I have come to agree with this. As I reflect on my own life, the personal encounters in this realm have often opened me up as much or more than my experiences of liturgy. I’d have to admit that my most memorable experiences at the celebrations of Mass and the sacraments were not intellectually-charged as much as they were breakthroughs outside of mental enlightenment.
Popular piety contains and expresses a powerful sense of transcendence, a spontaneous ability to find support in God and a true experience of theological love. It is also an expression of supernatural wisdom, because the wisdom of love does not depend directly on the enlightenment of the mind, but on the internal action of grace. That is why we call it popular spirituality, that is, a Christian spirituality which, while it is a personal encounter with the Lord, includes much of the bodily, the perceptible, the symbolic, and people’s most concrete needs. It is a spirituality incarnated in the culture of the lowly, which is not thereby less spiritual, but is so in another manner.
For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.