This is a guest post by Greg Herrle for Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.
Looking back on this Ignatian Prayer Adventure, I experienced many ups and downs. At times, it was easy to create time to stop life and pray; at others, I found it difficult to escape the craziness that is life. Many times certain words or prayers easily caught my senses, and I could feel God speaking to me. Of course, there were also readings and times where I struggled to find meaning.
I see the last three days of the retreat, reflecting on the love of God, serving as the culmination of the seven prior weeks. I have always enjoyed the “Fall in Love” reflection by Joseph Whelan, SJ. I have found myself interpreting its meaning in different ways. I have fallen in love with sports, service projects, vacations, and, of course, people throughout the years. I have found these all significantly directed my life during different stages. At this point in life, I often contemplate what it means in terms of my calling for my “adult life.”
As I sit here and reflect at the end of this retreat, I consider for the first time that the prayer may also mean falling in love with myself. I don’t mean this in an egocentric way, but rather as a means to better spread God’s love. The second-to-last day of the retreat calls for reflection on finding God in all things, including myself. Much of the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises reflects on our past and our sins, but the beauty of it all is that God still loves me and can be found within me. So as I look toward life after this retreat, I pray for the grace to better recognize God within myself and be a source of God’s love for those I meet. If I can recognize God as a part of me and love God, it truly will decide everything.