Ignatian Indifference

Often, we think about freedom as freedom from interference from others, but St. Ignatius understood freedom differently. For him, human freedom is a freedom to grow in relationship with God and share in God’s redemptive work. This requires internal freedom or what Ignatius called “indifference.” Indifference means being detached enough from things, people, or experiences to be able either to take them up or to leave them aside, depending on whether they help us to […]

Love and Freedom

This post is by Barbara Lee, author of God Isn’t Finished with Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1). The prophet introduces us to a God whose love is tender and intimate, a love that was manifested at the moment when we received the names that tell us who we are. At Baptism, God called […]

Free at Last?

There’s a meditation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius called “Three Classes of People,” which is designed to help us understand our attachments. Three people are given a great fortune, and each decides, in a different way, what to do about the fortune. Let’s be clear. The problem isn’t the fortune; it’s the attraction to the fortune. This exercise doesn’t assume that God wants you to give the thing up. It may well be […]

Trust and Freedom

Jesus’ instruction to pray to God, “thy will be done” is an essential part of Christian practice. Many saints, like Ignatius, have asked God to assist them in letting go of their own wills in favor of God’s will, as we find in the Suscipe: “Take, Lord, and receive, my memory, my understanding, my entire will.” This is both a difficult and worthwhile enterprise. Giving up one’s own will requires deep trust that in all […]

How a Busy Person Finds God in All Things

Busy people generally don’t stop being busy people. If they are spiritually aware, they will intentionally cease activity at regular intervals to be silent and still, to listen to the Divine, and to care for themselves. But then, they’re off! Busy people use their energy for action. Their minds rarely pause, because there are always multiple projects and plans forming. I use “busy” to describe a person who is nearly always outwardly active—this is the […]

Little Lesson from St. Ignatius of Loyola

“We should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. . . . Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.” —St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises We talk a lot about freedom in the United States. Our nation was founded on the principles of freedom and liberty. Ignatius of Loyola recognized that […]

Freedom for the New Year

A new year usually means a fresh plan. It means another try at the life we want to live. It means opening up to possibilities—to forward movement, to adjusting old ways to work better. A new year reminds us that the Holy Spirit is always moving, working among us, and leading us to the next good step. However, we cannot respond fully to such guidance and holy inspiration until we are free to do so. […]

Leaving Behind the Shoes

About halfway into my time on the Camino de Santiago, my toes began to develop blisters. I had planned my footwear carefully, researching many conflicting shoe recommendations on websites where fellow travelers on the Camino had shared their advice: hiking boots vs. shoes, trail runners with or without waterproofing; half a dozen different recommendations on socks. I tried on at least nine or ten different pairs of shoes at three different outdoor shops, before finally […]

On the Camino, Everywhere Is Home, and Yet…

I recently returned from walking part of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, along with other faculty colleagues exploring the continuation of a recent course for students on pilgrimage. Seven of us traveled through mountains and forest trails, via small cities and pig farms, walking 12 to 16 miles a day with all our necessities carried in our backpacks. While I am still integrating what the experience means to me, a few moments stand out. […]

The Hinterland Becomes the Heartland

What if that shadowy mystery beyond the span of our years turns out to be the real country to which our earthly days are just the fragmented signposts? What if the unconscious realms in which our conscious minds are floating turn out to be the embryonic sac that is beckoning us toward a reality far beyond imagination? What if that of my life that seems so total, so final, and so absolute turns out to […]

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