How are we to interpret the alternately serendipitous and disappointing, unexpected and unpredictable, courses of our lives? What is happening when death or financial disaster force us to reconsider what we want from life, when teachers or mentors find and nurture talent we didn’t know we had, when we succeed beyond our wildest imaginings, when managers steer our careers in fortuitous directions, when we aren’t offered the job we wanted so badly, when friends point out opportunities that we didn’t know existed, or when we persist in pursuing a personal passion against all odds of success, only to find that success and fulfillment eventually come? Do such cases merely vindicate human ingenuity, resilience, fortitude, and imagination? Or is God, too, at work in some ineffable way, as Hopkins says, “play[ing] in ten thousand places / Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his”?
Well, why not both? That’s how I read Ignatius, the former military commander and take-charge, type-A personality who nonetheless attuned himself to read God’s will in the subtle promptings of consolations and desolations. Or, as expressed in a great mantra of Jesuit spirituality, “Find God in all things.”
—Excerpted from Heroic Living by Chris Lowney