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.
One morning I tried to do centering prayer on our backyard swing. It was summer, and early mornings in our shady yard can be pleasant and quiet.
Well, not that quiet. I had settled down to listen for God, but as the minutes ticked by, I heard everything but God: police sirens, people talking a couple of yards over, dogs barking, various birds chatting enthusiastically above me, lawn mowers and weed wackers, contractors hammering, the hiss and hum of constant traffic on the expressway not a mile away. How could I detect God’s “still, small voice” with all this racket going on?
It occurred to me that none of the racket surprised or bothered God—only me, sitting there trying to impose a false quiet on my little corner of the city. I prayed for a way to work with the noise rather than against it.
This is the music of your day. Huh. Had the Holy Spirit just suggested that I was surrounded by music, not noise? I listened, then, as though attending a concert. Sure enough, the day was full of rhythms, tones, and pauses. The whole of this musical piece incorporated every creature and person, every surface and moving part. There was no difference between nature sound and human-made sound, because all of it issued from life.
What will you add to this music? That was a beautiful and pointed question. What sounds would my life make in this moment, this day? Would I add my bit while listening to everyone else, careful to play my part without drowning out others? Would I make sounds of peace, gratitude, and joy? Would I add only what benefited today’s masterpiece rather than cluttering the concert with noise and clatter?
When we pay attention and expand the way we look, listen, touch, taste, and smell, our ordinary day will reveal something of the God who created us.
Use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius to share the ways you’ve experienced God in the ordinary.