It is the Christmas season, the time of year that children are relishing the toys they received. They beam with smiles full of joy and gratitude as they cherish the opportunities to play unabashedly with their gifts. The newness of the gifts remains, and children are still discovering all the possibilities that the new gifts hold. In the weeks or months to come, children will still play with their toys, but the initial fascination with the gifts will wane a bit.
As we call to mind the joy of children opening gifts at Christmas, I invite us to remember our initial response to God’s gift of contemplative prayer. Remember what it felt like to discover the gift of Ignatian spirituality. Were we excited and thrilled at the newness of this gift? Were we in awe at God’s invitation to be with God in this intimate way? Did we find ourselves at home as we interacted with the gifts of Ignatian spirituality? Were we fascinated and hopeful waiting for all the possibilities of this way of being with God to be unwrapped?
As we reflect on the gifts of contemplative prayer and Ignatian spirituality in our lives, where would we place ourselves on the spectrum of gratitude? Do we still view the invitation from God to this type of prayer and this way of being with God as the pure gift it is? Or has the enthusiasm waned a bit, the way a child’s interest in a new gift decreases over time?
This Christmas season, as we thank God for our blessings, for the gifts received and for all the people in our lives, I invite us also to pause and take a moment to thank God for the gifts of contemplative prayer and Ignatian spirituality. Thank God for the many ways God invites us into relationship.
My prayer for all of us is that we will remember and celebrate the gifts of prayer and spirituality in our lives. May our joy and enthusiasm for the ways of being with God be reinvigorated.