I Saw You There

crucifixion - Aron M/Shutterstock.com

Editor’s note: Throughout July, we’re hosting 31 Days with St. Ignatius, a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality. In addition to the calendar of Ignatian articles found here, posts on dotMagis this month will explore the Ignatian Year theme, “To see all things new in Christ.”

I had always heard that going through the Spiritual Exercises would be both life-giving and life-changing. I heard that it would change how I viewed myself and the world in ways I couldn’t expect. Over years of engaging with and studying Ignatian spirituality, I saw how the Exercises changed others, but I could not quite grasp what they would do for me until I finally spent the time praying them myself this past year.

Shortly after I finished, I was having a conversation with a friend about discernment and life goals and feeling an internal call to something more. I was both excited and nervous about all I was feeling. My friend listened for a while and then interjected, “You just finished the Exercises, didn’t you?”

“Yes, why?” I replied.

“You can always tell when someone is post-Exercises. There is a light in their eyes through which shines the newly awakened deepest desires of their heart.”

It turns out the rumors are true: the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are both life-giving and life-changing. At least, they were for me. Even though I’m still in a process of discernment, and I do not have everything figured out, I have a new understanding of how and to what God calls me.

Recently, I wrote a prayer about how the Exercises taught me to see things anew in Christ. I hope it will give a glimpse, not only of how the Exercises changed me, but of what change is possible when we give time to walk with Christ in his story.

When I was younger,
I believed
that the journey
from here
to Heaven
was meant to be
DIFFICULT.

There were obstacles
to overcome,
sacrifices to make,
sadness and suffering
to endure.

I believed
that the only way
to glorify You
was to sacrifice
myself.

But then as an adult,
I took the time
to journey with You
to the Cross.

I saw You there,
looking at me,
inviting me to
see and believe
that the Sacrifice
was complete.

I saw You there,
looking at me,
inviting me to
hear and internalize
Your very words:
“It is finished,”
and live in the joy
of the Resurrection.

I saw You there,
inviting me
to envision this life
in a new way,
living joyfully with You,
through You,
to You.

Now I believe
that the journey
from here
to Heaven
is meant to be
LIFE-GIVING.

There are still obstacles
to overcome,
sacrifices to make,
sadness and suffering
to endure.

But NONE of that
comes from You.

Now I believe
that the only way
to glorify you
is to be
myself.

Now I believe
the road to You
is paved
with light
and joy
and love
and happiness.

May I never forget.


Today in 31 Days with St. Ignatius, enjoy Darth Vader and the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises by Eric A. Clayton. Then use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius on your favorite social media to share your experience with the Spiritual Exercises.

Gretchen Crowder
Gretchen Crowderhttps://gretchencrowder.com/
Gretchen Crowder has served as a campus minister and Ignatian educator for the Jesuit Dallas community for the last 15 years. She is also a freelance writer and speaker and is the host of Loved As You Are: An Ignatian Podcast. She has a B.S. in mathematics and a M.Ed. from the University of Notre Dame as well as an M.T.S. from the University of Dallas. She resides in Dallas, TX, with her husband, three boys, and an ever-growing number of pets.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I toolove thsi poem. It makes so much sense for my maturing soul as I continue to live watching for God to light my way each day. It is possible to overcome any obstacle working with Christ and seeing things his way. May God indeed help us never to forget.

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing, it’s been 10 years I think I need to do the exercises again, I need that type of inspiration

  3. Love this poem. (It helps me to remember what I learned/ experienced on the 30 day retreat years ago!) The road IS paved with light, love, joy and happiness if we have eyes to see. Thank you!

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