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!”