Arts & Faith: Lent logo

As we move from Lent to Easter, we’ll provide Ignatian prayers for the Triduum, inspired by videos from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for Holy Saturday are based on Mark 16:1–7.

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.”

—Mark 16:5–6

Preparation

We begin, with silence, by beholding the empty place where he had been.

First let your body be silent. In the silence sit upright, legs crossed or not, feet on the floor or not, lower back pressed against the chair. Or not. Let it be silent. Breathe.

Now let the mind be silent. In the silence let these words spill through your mind and down your spine into the earth. Let your thoughts puff away with each breath. As new ones come—knotted as they are with joy or pain—hold them like wounded birds. Set them aside to heal. Let it be silent. Breathe.

And let the heart be silent too. Vulnerability means able to be wounded. Of course there is resistance. Notice it. In the silence pull back the vines and push open the gates. Breathe.

In silence, tilt your chin to the heavens and look back at the One who gazes at you with great affection.

Let it be silent. Breathe.

Silence Today

An ancient homily for Holy Saturday speaks of silence today: “What is happening?” the unknown homilist asks. And the answer is: “Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps…because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages.”

  • Let your eyes roam slowly over the painting. See the gold leaf, the red flowers in the grass, and the darkness at the edge of the wings. See the empty space where the Lord has been.
  • Notice your heart. What is missing? What does your heart tell you is missing? How do you feel about it being gone?
  • What gifts have you brought to anoint the Lord? How do you feel seeing that he is gone?
  • See how the tomb fades from white to red to black. In the quiet whine that accompanies all silence, look into the dark space.
  • Is this a dark silence of waiting or of dread? Is there fear or hope or some mixture of emotions?

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI once noted that: “By remaining silent we allow the other person to speak…[a] space is created for mutual listening, and deeper human relationships become possible. It is often in silence, for example, that we observe the most authentic communication taking place between people who are in love: gestures, facial expressions and body language are signs by which they reveal themselves to each other.”

  • What does the angel’s gesture communicate to you? How do you respond to the news that Jesus is not there?
  • Do you hold your hand over your heart? Run your hands over the edge of the tomb? How does it feel under your fingers?
  • What is it like to touch the space where his body lay? How do you feel?
  • What is the Great God of Life communicating to those he loves in the language of the empty tomb?

Let the Lord be the one to break the silence. Let him, in your heart or your memory or your imagination, be the first to speak. Then, after you have listened, speak with him. Speak with him as one friend speaks to another.

Concluding Prayer

For you, O Lord,
My soul in stillness waits.
Truly, my hope is in you.

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: Holy Saturday.

{ 0 comments }

March 30, 2015

Arts & Faith: Lent logo

As we move from Lent to Easter, we’ll provide Ignatian prayers for the Triduum, inspired by videos from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for Good Friday are based on John 18:1—19:42.

So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to happen to him, came forward and asked them, “For whom are you looking?”

—John 18:3–4

Preparation

The unity for which we ask in preparation to accompany Jesus in his Passion is not our unity within ourselves. It is unity with him in his suffering.

This is less than easy to ask for.

Settle your body: head, back, legs, feet…
Settle your mind, letting go of thoughts, letting go, letting go…
Settle your heart, noticing resistance, opening to love…

As you do these things, ask of the Lord what St. Ignatius suggests: “What is proper to prayer on the Passion [is] to ask for grief with Christ in grief, to be broken with Christ broken, for tears and interior suffering on account of the great suffering that Christ endured for me.” (SE 203)

Tilt your chin to the heavens and, with eyes open or closed, look back at the One who gazes at you with great affection. Ask for compassion.

Compassion

See the chaos depicted in the painting. Hear the priests and the soldiers, the Pharisees and the disciples press against one another. Smell the night air and the sweat. Feel the grip of the guards as they take hold of Jesus.

This is no staged drama. These men do not wait for one another to finish their speeches before the trumpet is blown or the torches are lit. The ropes and the swords are there to be used.

And in the midst of this we have asked for compassion, which means we have asked to suffer with the One. Such petitions are signs of either sanctity or insanity.

  • Do you want to be drawn out of yourself?
  • Is there a desire within you to accompany Jesus even in this? Can you ask the Father for what you want?
  • If not—and that is okay—ask instead for the desire to want to be with him. Can you do so?

The gift of compassion within the Passion is the gift of escaping our narrow selves and of dying to them. When any part of us—even the selfish part of ourselves that repels us—is threatened, we resist. Even the death of these darkest parts of ourselves we resist. This is the heart of our lost-ness.

And Jesus bears even this. See his face in the chaos.

  • What is he thinking beneath his bowed back? What is he feeling?
  • Can you ask? Can you await his reply in word, gesture, or glance?
  • How do you feel as he is bound?

Jesus is Love incarnate. He is Love become a human being. This is what we have asked to feel compassion for—for Love made flesh.

And this is what happens to the living Love in our world. It is held in little esteem.

  • What is it like to have compassion on such a man? How do you react?
  • Do you turn your back on love, like Judas, when it is crushed?
  • Do you rise up, like Peter, in fear and fury, to crush that which crushes love?
  • Or are you filled with sadness? Do you mourn?

Speak with Jesus about what happens to your compassion as he is carried away. Tell him what you are afraid of and what it is like to suffer with him. Speak with him as one friend speaks to another.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: Good Friday.

{ 1 comment }

March 27, 2015

Arts & Faith: Lent logo

As we move from Lent to Easter, we’ll provide Ignatian prayers for the Triduum, inspired by videos from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for Holy Thursday are based on John 13:1–15.

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.

—John 13:3–5

Preparation

The union in openness of body and mind and heart that is prayer begins with attention to each.

First your body: Sit upright, legs crossed or not, feet on the floor or not, lower back pressed against the chair. Or not. Breathe.

Now the mind: As you are able, let these words spill through the mind and down your spine into the earth. Let your thoughts puff away with each breath. As new ones come—knotted as they are with joy or pain—hold them like wounded birds. Set them aside to heal. Breathe.

And the heart: Vulnerability means able to be wounded. Of course there is resistance. Notice it. With your breath and with energy, pull back the vines and push open the gates. Breathe.

Tilt your chin up to the heavens and, with eyes open or closed, look back at the One who gazes at you with great affection.

Breathe.

A Reverence That Leads to Service

In the opening meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Principle and Foundation, Ignatius writes: “Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord.” The opening of the Triduum this Holy Thursday shows us exactly what is meant by a reverence that leads to service. It means rising, trusting, divesting, and serving.

  • Imagine yourself at the table with Jesus in the upper room. What food has been laid out? With whom are you sitting? Are you near or far from Jesus? How does room feel—relaxed or jovial or quiet or tense? How do you feel?
  • How do you react as Jesus rises from the table?
  • Can you tell what is happening in his heart as he stands? How does he feel? Does he want to serve?
  • In Tintoretto’s painting, Jesus’ outer garments lay near his feet. What is he removing in preparation for this service?
  • How do you feel as he ties the towel and pours the water? What is moving in his heart?

To serve is to lay aside one’s own good to prioritize the good of another. To serve is to place another above ourselves, to say with our mouths and our bodies: you take precedence.

  • Does Jesus kneel at your feet?
  • How does it feel to have the great friend kneel before you and ask to serve you?
  • Can you let him? What arises in your heart? Is it easy to say yes and take the sandals from your feet? Or is there a sliver of Peter’s heart in yours?
  • What do you say about it being easy or hard to receive his service?

Genuine consolation, genuine union in joy with the loved one, always moves the lover into service for the loved one—which means that genuine service happens only within the equality that is friendship. This is a service that creates not debtors but peers.

This is what loving us “to the end” means: to love us into his friendship, so that we are no longer servants, but friends.

  • Who in your life loves or has loved you to the end?
  • What is it like to be the recipient of such a love?
  • Who do you become within such love?
  • What desires arise in your heart as you are loved into equality?
  • What do you want?

The aim of all prayer, for Ignatius, is mutual communication, and communication happens in “deeds more than in words.” But words are still important.

Speak with the Lord. Speak with him about how you feel about being served by him, or about how you feel kneeling at the feet of others. Speak with him in your heart with words or with deeds, as one friend speaks to another.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: Holy Thursday.

{ 1 comment }

March 26, 2015

Lenten Meditations: Scripture as a Thin Place

We should be aware of the thin places in our lives because they make experiences of God’s desire for each one of us, and our desire for God, more possible by capturing our attention and pulling us out of our ordinary routines and concerns. Scripture, either heard or read, can be a thin place if we let the words capture our imagination and attention. Scripture will not be a thin place if we read it solely for meaning. All too often, we don’t let the Scriptures do what they were written to do—namely, to give the Mystery we call God a chance to be heard and met.

Loving God, help me encounter you in the way the biblical writers intended: to engage you personally, to hear you, and to meet you in the Mystery of Scripture.

—William A. Barry, SJ, in Lenten Meditations:
Growing in Friendship with God

Working as a Catholic youth minister and teacher, it’s often that I find myself numb to the daily prayer that needs to happen throughout the day. On a typical day we pray before, after, and sometimes during the classes and programs I run. Facilitating prayer is a foundational part of my life, and I’ve learned that if I’m not careful, prayer easily becomes another task to endure. This hit me hard when I came across Fr. Barry’s challenge to be aware of the “thin places” in our lives.

However, rather than asking where the “thin places” were, I found myself asking the opposite: what were the “thick places” in my life? What parts of my day were so clouded with stress that I was blinded by the great mystery of God present all around me? Moreover, what walls have I built that block me from experiencing the sacredness in life?

Barry’s idea that the thin places pull us “out of our ordinary routines and concerns,” resonated with me. When I took this line to prayer, I realized how often I create a thickness that prevents me from encountering God. Maybe this is the “ordinary routine” from which God desires to save me. With so many tasks to complete, I routinely put up walls that only get thicker until prayer becomes just another task. But ironically, prayer is a time to knock down the walls. If the walls are up, our time with the Scriptures becomes void; we transform the living Word of God into a cliché.

The writers of the Bible are passionate and moving when they exclaim: “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

It’s as if these writers of the past were begging us to listen to God’s Word wholeheartedly—because it’s more exciting, heart-throbbing, bone-chilling, and exhilarating than any Hollywood film.

Since I’m human—with many projects on my plate—it’s often that I forget this. I forget that prayer itself—especially praying with Scripture—is the remedy for the thickness I create and that maybe, if I prayed first to take the walls down, it would lead me to a thin place where I could experience a God whose Word is sharp enough to penetrate the toughest walls around my heart.

Lord, help me to take down my walls and to be deeply aware of your living Word.

Subscribe to dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian SpiritualityThis is part six of a seven-part series. Join us each Wednesday for Growing in Friendship with God This Lent.

{ 0 comments }

March 25, 2015

This post is based on Week Six of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.

Quote from article: "The main thing is not about me doing more tasks, scheduling more events, or having more time; in fact, the focus is not on me at all. " - Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa

My boss recently shared an oft-quoted adage from the corporate world: “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I welcomed the timely reminder, as this advice caught me during a week I’d felt overextended with work projects and overcommitted in my personal life. I’d needed a reminder to keep my focus on my main goals—and allow myself to let go, if only temporarily, of secondary priorities.

At this point in Lent, I find myself in a similar place—more busy than full, more strained than challenged, and on many days, just plain tired from all the juggling. I find myself craving solitude and restfulness. I imagine joining Jesus in his ministry but also accompanying him as he retreats after a long, busy day.

This week’s prayer invites us to focus on the “main thing”: knowing, loving, and following Jesus. I feel invited to remember that the main thing is not about me doing more tasks, scheduling more events, or having more time; in fact, the focus is not on me at all. Rather, as Paul Campbell, SJ, says, “It’s about learning to love Jesus more. It’s about learning to respond to Jesus more. It’s about learning to be loved more.”

The main thing is not a thing at all, but a person—Jesus. As we continue to journey through Lent, may we more wholeheartedly know him, more deeply love him, and more readily respond to his call.

{ 1 comment }

March 24, 2015

Arts & Faith: Lent logo

Each week of Lent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for Palm Sunday, Cycle B, are based on Mark 14:1—15:47.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. And the servant-girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

—Mark 14:66–72

Preparation

The union in openness of body and mind and heart that is prayer begins with attention to each.

First your body: Sit upright, legs crossed or not, feet on the floor or not, lower back pressed against the chair. Or not. Breathe.

Now the mind: As you are able, let these words spill through the mind and down your spine into the earth. Let your thoughts puff away with each breath. As new ones come—knotted as they are with joy or pain—hold them like wounded birds. Set them aside to heal. Breathe.

And the heart: Vulnerability means able to be wounded. Of course there is resistance. Notice it. With your breath and with energy, pull back the vines and push open the gates. Breathe.

Tilt your chin up to the heavens and, with eyes open or closed, look back at the One who gazes at you with great affection.

Breathe.

Attention

Sustained attention in our sound bite age is among the greatest gifts we can give. Love is this gift of attention multiplied by time.

One aim, perhaps the central aim, of those oft-referenced Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is to stir up our own love for Jesus by using this same formula: Attention x Time = Love. We practice over and again giving Jesus the gift of attention to his words, to his healings, to his labors, to his rest—all aimed at the interior computation of this formula.

  • When is it easy for you to give your attention? To whom?
  • What distracts you from giving this gift?
  • What happens to you when you give sustained attention to a person over time? How does it make you feel about him or her? About you?

Perhaps the greatest sign that our attention has been multiplied into love is our willingness to join the one to whom we have attended in her or his suffering.

It is just this sign that Peter, clenched hands pointed inwards, refuses to give in today’s Gospel.

  • What is it like to give your attention to Peter, to the furrows of fear on his brow or the pinch of his eyebrows above his nose?
  • What tone animates his words to the maid: “I neither know nor understand…”?
  • What is he feeling in the darkness as his heart pounds beneath his robes?
  • Let your attention return for a moment to yourself. Are there memories that rise to surface of your own mind as you consider Peter? Are there times you have felt similarly?
  • Are there times you have turned your back on that which time and attention has taught you to love?

If we are attentive, we will notice two betrayals in the long Passion narrative: Peter’s and Judas’s. One betrays Jesus with denials in the darkness, the other with a kiss.

But the real difference between Peter and Judas is not in their mode of betrayal; it is in whether they are willing to accept forgiveness. Judas’s hands, we might imagine, remained closed fists; his broken heart remained sealed. Peter’s self-accusatory hands, however (eventually, much later, at the seashore after a meal), were able to open. He was able to weep at what he had done.

  • Look again at Peter in the painting. Look at him as Jesus might have looked at him. What feelings arise in your heart? Betrayal? Resignation? Sorrow? Love?
  • Was Jesus, even in such a moment of darkness, able to give this beloved disciple his attention?
  • How might Peter have responded to such attention even after the cock had crowed? How might you respond?
  • What do you want to say to the One on whom our hearts have been trained for so long about the times we have taken our attention away?

Speak with the Lord. Speak with him about any memories that have arisen, about any denials or any hesitations you feel in being forgiven. Speak with him as one friend speaks to another about what has happened in your prayer.

Concluding Prayer

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video Arts & Faith: Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion.

{ 1 comment }

March 23, 2015

red bag

It’s been a tough few weeks, with just a few too many surprises disrupting the usually gentle rhythm of the semester. A grant deadline was pushed up by two weeks; my youngest son, a continent away, got quite ill. All the while my e-mail chirped like a nest of starving baby birds, messages popping up and demanding answers faster than I could stuff answers in them.

Last Monday, in what appeared to be a lull between winter storms both literal and metaphorical, I slid one last calculation onto the supercomputer queue and ducked out the door. I had booked a room for the night in a retreat house and was looking forward to some slow time with God.

An hour and a half later, I parked the car, sent a text to my husband letting him know I’d arrived safely, and opened the trunk to grab my overnight bag. It wasn’t there. I checked the back seat. Was it behind the passenger seat? Was it hiding under my gym bag? No, no, and definitely not. I had packed that bag with indulgences, balm for my soul after the slog of the last weeks. Peppery vanilla-scented chai, a book of poetry. These, I told myself firmly, you can live without. It’s Lent. You’re a grown up. But my pajamas? My toothbrush!

That’s when it occurred to me that the gym bag I kept shifting around, hoping to see my small bag hidden behind it, had a toothbrush and a few other necessities stashed in it. There were pants and a sweatshirt that could double as pajamas, and while I decided I was not desperate enough to reuse the socks stuffed in the outside pocket, my feet could be happy in my sneakers without them.

I had enough to manage for the night.

I found myself remembering the opening words to Alice Walker’s poem “Before you knew you owned it”: “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” How much, I wondered, of what I think I need, could wait on surprise? How frugally could I live?

For one night at least, I could apparently manage with no socks and a single line of poetry.

St. Ignatius’s Principle and Foundation reminds us: “All the things in this world are gifts from God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.” I wonder how often I forget that many of the best gifts are surprises. I was surprised to think I could walk off and leave my bag by the door, but yet more surprised to realize there was nothing in it I truly needed. What I needed was time empty of things demanding my attention, even a bag to unpack and repack. What I needed was not hot chai and chocolate, but God’s tender care, more easily seen when stripped of my own pretensions of preparedness and organization.

I didn’t even have time to open my e-mail the next day before the flock of tasks began demanding their due, chirping at the door. “Take only enough” of compassion, reminds Walker in her poem. The night had been just enough and simultaneously everything that I desired.

{ 1 comment }

March 20, 2015

questions from the Relationship Examen

It’s amazing how much my first year of marriage has found Sarah and me sharing with others about what the experience has been like. Just recently we gave a talk to some undergraduates about how we integrate prayer into our relationship. One key feature of our prayer, especially at the beginning of our marriage, was a Relationship Examen. Our method takes the spirit of Ignatius’s examination of conscience and applies it to a deep examination of how our relationship is going. Each of us would take turns reflecting on these three questions:

How am I doing in the relationship?
Self-reflection is key to the Christian life. And this reflection best starts with Jesus’ command to love God, neighbor, and self. In this case the neighbor would be your friend or partner. How have you been caring for the other person? Where do you notice your struggles to be a good friend? Are you caring for yourself, or do you beat yourself up for your imperfections? Jesus knew that we couldn’t be effective neighbors if we didn’t first take care of ourselves. And how does your relationship with God influence how you are? For Sarah and me, individual prayer only strengthens us as a couple.

How are you doing in the relationship?
Here’s a chance to be honest but loving with your friend or partner. Have you felt loved by that person? How has she or he given you joy and contributed to the welfare of the relationship? Do you have any gentle suggestions for him or her to do something different? This is a time I can be honest with Sarah and say, “It would mean a lot if you could offer more words of affirmation to me,” since that’s a primary way I feel loved. Honest relationships have the chance to act as a mirror, in which the other can reveal to you the ways you may have been helping or hindering the relationship.

How is the relationship going in general?
The Relationship Examen concludes with a look at the relationship as a whole. Where have we come from and where are we going? Have we enjoyed spending time together? Has the relationship grown and strengthened, or has it become stagnant? And just as Ignatius’s Examen looks hopefully toward the future, we can ask ourselves what our hopes are for our future in relationship with each other.

These three questions can also be helpful for examining your relationship with God. How are you giving to the relationship? What has God done for you? What might you need to ask for? Is your spiritual life growing or stagnant?

Sarah and I have found that a prayerful examination of our relationship makes it more meaningful and invites us to take a more intentional role in its development.

{ 0 comments }

March 19, 2015

Lenten Meditations: Job and the Question of Evil

I don’t have an answer to the question of why there is so much evil and pain in this world. All I can do is encourage you to speak directly to God if you have questions about God’s ways. Speak as one friend to another, even if anger is the only emotion you can voice. The book of Job, I believe, encourages such honest relating with friends and indicates that God is willing to respond, even if the response is not, at first hearing, as comforting as we might hope.

Loving God, help me read the book of Job with an open heart and mind, that I might come to peace, if not understanding, about the question of evil in the world.

—William A. Barry, SJ, in Lenten Meditations:
Growing in Friendship with God

As we watched the evening news while preparing dinner, I had to mute the volume and distract my daughter as the story about the latest ISIS violence was broadcast. My initial response, I must confess, was disgust, horror, and a desire to use whatever means available to stop them. But nowhere in my heart did I find the desire to pray for them. That didn’t even cross my mind! Yes, I have heard Jesus’ teaching to “love your enemies and pray for those who curse you” thousands of times in my faith studies and in church, but even 40-some years of trying to live this faith was no match for my defensive and hostile human nature in the face of atrocities.

Only when I sat in prayer, my time of conversation with God as Job suggests, and looked back over my day to see what stirred my angst and negativity, did I recognize in myself the very hatred that they are spewing out on others. It was not pretty to admit. And then, as promised, in the still, small voice, the teaching finally came back to me: Love them. Pray for them.

Again I resisted. You can’t be serious! I am supposed to pray for ISIS? For people who are perpetrating horrid violence on innocents? What is there to pray for them?

Again the Voice in my gut came: Perhaps to will that they would be able to experience love. That they would see the beauty of creation, of Divinity, in each person around them regardless of their faith proclamations. They are missing so much beauty in this world by trying to control and conform it. Somehow in that time of prayer and conversation, my hostility and resistance turned to pity.

In the book of Job, the only evil God directly addresses is not that which rained down from Satan, but that which came from Job’s supposed friends. They encourage him not to share his woes with God, to quit complaining and keep doing the prescribed rituals even if they feel empty, lest they all get in trouble. They encourage Job to accept that God is just going to do what God wants to do, and Job must somehow deserve it. God’s response to them—like that of Jesus, who undoubtedly was raised knowing the story of Job—was for Job to pray for God to forgive this evil.

Perhaps the great question of our life is not, “Why is there evil in this world?” but instead, “How is my heart responding?” We can’t change the why, but we can change our response to evil and pain. Do we perpetuate it and spew it back into the world, or do we pray for the strength to love and will what is truly good for the other? Can we at least begin our response to evil and pain by sitting with it in prayer?

Subscribe to dotMagis, the blog of Ignatian SpiritualityThis is part five of a seven-part series. Join us each Wednesday for Growing in Friendship with God This Lent.

{ 2 comments }

March 18, 2015

Call of the King quote - Spiritual Exercises

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.

I recently attended a parish workshop on the topic of servant leadership. In a small group exercise, we shared examples of people in our lives who truly embody the characteristics of a servant leader—leaders who are empathetic, humble, focused on others, and driven by a sense of mission.

Our group shared stories about saints and popes, family members and friends, civic and political figures. Despite the differences in the types of people we named, all of us agreed that these leaders called forth our enthusiasm, stirred a passion for justice, and inspired us to share their work.

This workshop’s exercise is precisely what Ignatius asks us to consider in the contemplation on the call of Christ the King, except he takes it one question further: If the call of these worldly leaders can inspire us to respond, how much more worthy of our consideration is the call of Jesus, our eternal leader?

I recall the people who have called me to co-labor with God, to join Jesus on mission. I felt called by a pacifist couple I met on a service trip in Appalachia. I felt called when I learned about the martyrs in El Salvador, the life of Dorothy Day, and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I feel called to mission when I sit with my clients, with dear friends, or in silence. I feel called in my vocation to marriage, social work, and ministry. I feel called when I listen to the words of Pope Francis and when I listen in general. This group who calls me is an eclectic bunch, diverse in their work and distinct in their mission, but united in their generous, eager, loving responses to the call of Christ the King.

Jesus invites the disciples to join him on mission. “Come after me,” he says. They follow immediately, leaving their former lives behind. Who is calling you?

{ 0 comments }

March 17, 2015