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Dictionary

A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.

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EXPERIENCE

Any form of knowledge arising from one's own immediate awareness. It is knowledge gained by a person's own contact with reality. It is a composite of the mental, volitional, and emotional activity that no one but the person himself or herself has gone through, and that, absolutely speaking is therefore not communicable. It is the unique possession of each individual, whose self-awareness is so different from that of everyone else that it best distinguishes the individual as a person.

Experience is also the accumulated practical wisdom and skill that people acquire in their particular trade or profession. It is then contrasted with merely speculative or book knowledge and has special significance in the art and of Christian perfection. (Etym. Latin experientia, act of trying, testing, becoming acquainted with.)

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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