This is a guest post by Jurell Sison, as he begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.
To be quite honest, making time for prayer and meditation has always been one of my biggest struggles. For me it’s like exercising—I love the idea but it seems there is a force that keeps me glued to my couch or at my computer. It’s as if someone drugged me with fear, or even worse—the curse of being “too busy.” Yet every time I find a way out of this “curse” and into a gym, I discover more energy, more life, and more peace.
It might be embarrassing to admit this, but throughout this week of contemplation, I’ve discovered that I’m not where I want to be. There is a serious aching in my heart to know and encounter God, yet I continually find myself stuck. I’m so caught up in my work and the anxieties of life that the thought of meditation sometimes overwhelms me. I get paralyzed by the thought of how long my prayer will take, and I get tricked into thinking that I can just do it later.
The core of my prayer this week has been about spiritual freedom. Some of my most powerful moments came from contemplating David Fleming’s translation of the First Principle and Foundation. It reads, in part:
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
they displace God
and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
This has been an incredible reminder that everything is a gift, presented to us so that we can know God. Yet the second that we become too attached or off-balance, we misuse the gifts that God has blessed us with.
So, as I make my way through these Spiritual Exercises, I pray that I might become more and more aware of the things that are taking over my life and place God back into the center of my aching heart. Most of all, I pray that I can fight through the curse of being busy. And in my endeavors to prioritize my prayer life, I hope to rediscover the God who energizes us with overwhelming love and peace.
But as it goes with all things—it is a work in progress.