My Mother’s Prayer

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure online retreat

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

Going through my mom’s prayer book after her death, I found a copy of the Anima Christi. At first this prayer didn’t capture my interest, but as time passed, it kept popping up here and there. I decided if St. Ignatius recommended it, and so did my mom, it must have something to it.

At the outset, I found its references obscure. I didn’t know what the soul of Christ was. And being inebriated with blood sounded revolting. The word sanctity isn’t part of my everyday vocabulary. Many repetitions later, though, the prayer took on fresh meaning. As I spent time with its phrases, I memorized the prayer.

Someone told me that the soul of Christ is a descriptor for the Holy Spirit. That made sense, but I didn’t understand sanctity as something applicable to me. That was for perfect people. Probing the definition of sanctity led me to a definition I could embrace: being holy or sacred. I know I’m sacred simply because I’m special to God.

This week’s Ignatian Prayer Adventure materials lead us to ask God repeatedly for the grace of being aware of God’s faithful, unconditional love for us. That love makes me sacred even when I haven’t done anything. How I treat this sacred creation of God is another story. Therefore, I return to the first line of the Anima Christi. I love how the prayer starts with asking the Holy Spirit to make me holy. Be my guide, o loving Spirit. God is doing all the work, drawing me in, enticing me closer. Soon I find that I want to be more aware of God’s closeness to me and of how well I am cared for and loved.

I imagine water from the side of Christ cleansing me from sin, like a hot shower. I see Christ like a mother, gently rubbing jam from her toddler’s cheeks.

And the blood of Christ is the love of Jesus poured out. OK, yes, I want to be drunk with love. When I’ve had one too many, my inhibitions are lowered. I want to be an uninhibited lover as Jesus is. Being drunk with Jesus could be fun, I mean, spiritually freeing.

I’m tempted to rush, and that’s even true when I go on retreat. As I virtually walk this retreat, I hope to slow down and stick with those ideas that feed my spirit. Today I’m pondering having a bottle of wine with Jesus and risking being a little inebriated. My heart overflows with so much love that I’m willing to do something wild, like trust that God is personally caring for me. Like love my enemies. Like what?

Jesus, that is just wild. But let me ingest that idea a little more. Another sip of your wine and I can say, “Let’s do this!”


  1. Thank you Denise for the link and Donna for asking for it. For those unfamiliar with this prayer, it really should be included at the top of the text of this page next time round if possible, as it will have little meaning to those who are not familiar with it. Thank you for reminding me of this beautiful prayer and for this helpful online retreat and reflections.

  2. It is great to read your comments, may I remind you there are many 80-90 year old women and men out there who eagerly participate in the Ignatian Spirituality and our lives are differently difficult, living in retirement homes.
    Lily Farkas

  3. Thank you, Loretta. This lovely essay reminds me of my mother, led me to the Church before she passed away. Her birthday is The Presentation day (Feb.2). As you said, if mom found something from the Lord to pass to me, I paid close attention. Funny, I was not very obedient as a kid. Something changed my trajectory. And, here I am, on this retreat!
    Blessings to you,

  4. This column brought me back to when I was 7 years old and made my First Communion. We sang the hymn “Soul of My Savior.” I didn’t know until now that it was based on the prayer by St. Ignatius, Anima Christi.The hymn, and now the prayer, holds a special place in my heart. Thank you for helping me to better understand the words of this prayer and relate it to my faith as an adult.

  5. When I shared this link with my sister, she reminded me that Ash Wednesday was our mothers birthday. Another God – incidence


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