Editor’s note: Throughout July, we’re celebrating 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 ways of Experiencing God in the Ordinary. The inspiration for our theme is the new book by William A. Barry, SJ.
As a child, I was taught by my family to be thankful in every moment. My parents taught us to be thankful for food before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Before going to sleep we prayed as a family. That was an important time to thank God for what we had: for health, for a shelter to shelter in, for food, for family.
I thank God every day for having learned this, because it marked me forever. It made me understand that the Church starts in the family, in the domestic church. The family is where we learn to relate to God in a more experiential way. I know that many people prefer the liturgy, but in my home, we had a personal encounter with the irreplaceable Lord.
I still, as an adult, continue that personal practice of thanking God for every moment I have. Before traveling, before eating, before sleeping, I give thanks. Indeed, I learned to realize that all work I have to do or every activity that I start is always better with a grateful heart to the Lord.
When churches were closed due to the health situation, I expect Christians who only look to meet God when they go to church on Sundays had a more difficult time these months. For me, the sacraments are important, but more important is the regular personal encounter with the Lord. I can’t imagine a day without reading the daily readings from the Bible. I’m not always able to go to the Eucharist, but my daily Scripture encounter with Jesus is never missing. Lectio divina as a prayer methodology helps me to experience the Lord’s presence.
Today I invite all who read this short message to review how they thank God for each of the moments of the day in their ordinary lives. In this way, we learn to live routine acts in a way that recognizes God’s constant presence.