Whatever helps to open our hearts to the reality of the sacred is what we should be engaged in. This awareness leads to an image of the Christian life very different from the one with which I grew up. The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now and being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering into a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to God who is already here. . . . . . . . .The fruit of this process is compassion. . . . . . . . .God’s will for us – the goal of the working of the Spirit within us – is to become more compassionate beings. Such was Saint Paul’s point when he spoke of the greatest of the spiritual gifts as love, his more abstract term for what Jesus meant by compassion. If spirituality – a life of relationship with the Spirit of God – does not lead to compassion, then either it is life in relationship to a different spirit or there is a lot of static in the relationship. The absence or presence of compassion is the central test for discerning whether something is “of God.” As the primary gift of the Spirit, compassion is the primary sign of spiritual growth.
(from The God We Never Knew)