Looking Back

As I write this post, my inbox is filling up with e-mails due to a dialogue with family members about various faith topics. What is unique about this e-mail chain is that my family is full of ordained ministers of different denominations (Anglican, Presbyterian, and Baptist). In the middle of all of these ministers, I am a married Catholic lay minister.

woman looking backAs I read the thought-provoking responses and spirit-filled conversations from my family members, I cannot help but be thankful for the gift of St. Ignatius in my life. Ignatian spirituality has helped me see and understand God at work in my life, even before I fully realized God was in my life. It is so often through the Ignatian prayer tools, such as the Prayer on My Dossier or the Examen, that I have been able to name vital moments of my faith journey that happened so long ago, most importantly the impact of my family.

I have no doubt that my family played a huge part in the person I am today and in what I feel I am called to do, both in my vocation to married life and in my vocation to lay ministry within the Catholic Church. My faith foundation was firm—built solid by my grandparents teaching my parents, my parents teaching me, and my extended family reinforcing that God is at work in our lives. My understanding of “God in all things” is a hallmark tenet of Ignatian spirituality—a spirituality I did not put a name to until my early 20s. But in reality, I have understood, since my youth, that “God is in all things,” because I watched my family, despite our theological differences, savor God at work in our world.

While my family and I may not agree on all of the theological issues, we do agree on one thing: God’s work in our lives is quite profound! I also know that this current dialogue is deepening and invigorating my own faith life.

About Becky Eldredge 118 Articles
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.

7 Comments on Looking Back

  1. I think I am the baptist you refer to in the post. Respect and a traditional understanding of tolerance are key. By a traditional understanding of tolerance, I mean, agreeing to disagree without being disagreeable. There are very real and important theological differences that can and should be debated. I don’t believe that all ideas are equal, especially those that speak of Christ, and rigorous debate is needed as we seek truth in Scripture. I would totally reject contemporary understandings of tolerance which advocate affirmation of other positions which are often contrary to Scripture. We can respect and love those we disagree with while still valuing a less abstract idea of truth. Thanks Becky!

  2. Although I’ve only belonged to two denominations (Anglican and Methodist), my own Christian experience has been quite wide-ranging – encompassing sacramental/liturgical, evangelical and charismatic worship styles. I have learnt (and hopefully grown) so much as a result of this.

    During the last few years, having returned to my Anglican roots, I have felt drawn more towards the contemplative stream and rediscovered my love of the saints and mystics. I have been exploring Ignatian spirituality for about a year and particularly like the focus on finding God in everyday life. I also like its inclusiveness – I’ve encountered quite a few people of varying denominational backgrounds who have been influenced in some way by Ignatian spirituality.

    Unity that respects and allows for diversity…that’s got to be a good thing.

  3. This idea has come to me. What if, made in the Image of God, the Church is, as the living Body of Christ, in it’s continuing growth and formation models the development of a fertilized egg — each cell dividing, and multiplying making each part of the body unique yet united. The hand not saying to the eye, I do not need you… each part with different gifts of the same Holy Spirit. Could we find our unity in respect and love for each part (denomination)? What do you think? — I ask because of the diversity of your family.

    • MM D’COTA,

      I wanted to let you know that I read your post, and I will give a more thorough reply tomorrow (I am about to head to my spiritual direction class).

      In a nutshell, I can say, growing up in a religiously diverse family has taught me respect and love for other denominations.

      More tomorrow though…

    • Robin,

      I like the title Presby-Ignatian person! I’ll have to share that with one of my uncles.

      What’s fascinating is only in recent weeks, I realized how much my uncle, a Presbyterian minister, loves Ignatian spirituality and the Catholic mystics. I never realized how much we have in common!

      • I would love to meet your uncle, as I am a Presby minister as well as an Ignatian spiritual director. Some of us are called to ambiguity and paradox in all things.

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