HomedotMagisReflectionsMy Journey Through the Two Standards

My Journey Through the Two Standards

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

In Ignatius’s day a “standard” was another name for a military banner or flag. Therefore, the Two Standards meditation was a way of testing the retreatant’s allegiance. The overwhelming question was: Whose flag will you wave? I asked bluntly, “What kind of question is that? Who would ever intentionally choose to be on Team Satan?”

It seemed like a no-brainer. But when it came time for my prayer, it was much more difficult than choosing Christ over the evil one.

I entered what appeared to be a desert. It was dark and gloomy, and the wind had a distinct chill. Walking into the scene, I saw my friend and rabbi, Jesus, in the distance. As I looked closer, he had a cloth tied around his mouth and was tied up with heavy rope around his hands and waist. As soon as I saw this I ran to untie him, but I remembered that the choice wasn’t supposed to be this easy—it was a choice between the two greatest loves of my life.

It was then that I noticed something on the opposite side of Jesus. I saw an office desk, cluttered with countless books and magazines, and it, too, was tied up with rope. I was confused until I noticed that the books on the desk were my own—this was my future work desk. There were countless books and articles that I had written. I came closer and began to read title after title with my name on the bottom in an aesthetic font, “JURELL G. SISON.” Some even read, “New York Times Bestseller.”

These were my two standards. I was being forced to choose, and it wasn’t as simple as choosing between “Team Jesus” or “Team Satan.” These were the two greatest loves of my life. I always dreamed of publishing a book that would bring life to people, one that would help them discover faith at its finest. But this passion was taking over like a cancer. It was killing me, so I had to kill it. Needless to say, I chose Team Jesus, but it wasn’t without internal struggle and reflection about my priorities.

When we forget to hold God as the center, something else will surely take God’s place. When we take our focus off of God—shoving love, humility, and service to the side—something insidious creeps into us, turning our passion into poison. Sometimes we create our own demons without even knowing it.

The Two Standards meditation isn’t a choice between the good and evil that’s out in the world—it’s a choice that lies within one’s own heart. So whose flag are you waving?

Jurell Sison
Jurell Sisonhttp://livingpersonmedia.com/
Jurell Sison is a 20-something Filipino American living in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a teacher, writer, and filmmaker on the quest for the living God. His mission is to share stories and experiences with those who are chasing meaning and purpose in life. Jurell graduated in May 2013 with a Master of Arts in Theology. He served as a graduate assistant for the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at John Carroll University. He enjoys photography, videography, and keeping up with Pope Francis. His favorite activity is sharing a good meal with close family and friends, especially his best friend and wife, Bridget.


  1. This post caused me to reflect on what my other standard is – and it is my desire to do something great for Jesus when Jesus has told me that he is asking me to do small things but to do them with great love. I also have accepted that this is the path that Jesus wants me to take – the humble path where I will serve him rather than myself. Thank you so very much Jurell.

    • Thanks so much Tim! Not sure if you remember me but I met you at the Parish Catalyst Conference in Malibu. Your presentation on Young Adults was spot on. Prayers for you as you continue in ministry.

  2. Pope Francis not long ago said that the world tells us to seek success, power, and money. God tells us to seek humility, service, and love.
    For me the Two Standards are a daily challenge. Jesus’ Standard: humility, service and love are daily calls which I am not always willing to answer…


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