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Acta Theologica

On-line version ISSN 2309-9089
Print version ISSN 1015-8758


VER ELST, D.. A powerful encounter: the relation between diaconia and spirituality. Acta theol. [online]. 2020, vol.40, n.2, pp.342-359. ISSN 2309-9089.

Spirituality, when conceived of as a relation with the transcendent, can be experienced in many ways. This article explores how diaconia, when defined broadly as service work, can be a place where this relation is experienced. Based on the reviewed literature, the different ways in which spirituality and diaconia are related, as well as the influence of spirituality on diaconia and of diaconia on spirituality are discussed. On the basis of theoretical and empirical research literature, the article explores concepts such as calling, effectivity of diaconia through spiritual strategies, humbleness, perseverance and coping that influence diaconia. Spiritual transformation through diaconia is discussed by viewing diaconia as a spiritual act and the encounter with a greater good, love, calling, heterotopia and suffering in the practice of diaconia. These different forms of relation are examined critically, as an indication for further research and implementation in theological and communal praxis.

Keywords : Spirituality; Diaconia; Practical theology.

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