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.”
In the course of St. Ignatius’s life, he was often asked to see things in new ways. After his injury by a cannonball, Ignatius changed his ambitions for a courtly life into pursuing a life of faithful service to God. This was not just a new goal, but a way of imagining his life quite differently. When Ignatius went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, he wanted to remain but was sent away and returned to Spain. He had to reimagine his life once again and realize that a life close to Jesus was not going to happen in terms of his geographical location, but rather by a life of friendship with Jesus, wherever he was. Over and over again, Ignatius had to re-envision what it meant for him to follow Jesus more closely.
We are called to this same invitation to re-envision ourselves, both as individuals and as a community. In different phases of my life, I have also had to reimagine what life might look like. For example, when both of my children graduated from college, my sense of purpose felt lost for a while. Teaching has always been a vocation for me, but so was mothering children: being a “taxi mom,” listening to their days’ stories, cooking and sharing meals. Suddenly those parts of the day-to-day were absent. I am still learning how to lean into the next part of life, and a good deal of it involves letting my imagination play with what life can look like now and paying attention to when and where God brings me consolation. It also takes a good deal of patience to not have to figure it out myself and to know that God makes the right invitations at the right times.
One of the activities that I can enjoy more in this next phase of life is gardening. Recently, a rhododendron with a fungal growth on its leaves needed some radical pruning. It was hard to cut away so much of this large, beautiful plant, so that I could tend the rest of it back to health. However, as I was wielding the garden shears with some real heartache, I thought about how God prunes us in order to make room for new growth. Sometimes we lose one part of life—the day-to-day of parenting small children—in order to make room for another, like enjoying my adult children as the wonderful adults they now are.
The call to see all things new is not only about the personal, though; it’s asking us to re-envision a better world. We as a community of the faithful are being asked to envision the Reign of God and what would that look like. How can each one of us do something to make the world a bit more like the one that God desires for everyone to enjoy? Recently I have been trying to consider more how I can care for the planet, in light of Pope Francis’s call to care for our common home. And that means re-envisioning how I live and how we as a society live together, so that God’s creation can flourish in the longer run.
We can apply the idea of pruning to allow new growth to our shared common home too: What parts of the way we live harm our planet and ought to be pruned back? How can we care for and nurture what is healthy and good in how we live in relationship? Instead of seeing what we have to change for that better world as only loss, we can imagine it as a place for new growth.
Where are you reimagining what the world might look like? How does that inform your own way of seeing all things new in Christ?
Today in 31 Days with St. Ignatius, consider St. Ignatius and Community by Vinita Hampton Wright. Then use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius on your favorite social media to share how you are reimagining what the world might be.
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.