The Truth and Comfort in Ignatian Spirituality

cerealOnce upon a time—before I had kids, to be precise—I had the freedom to drop everything for a weekend and go on retreat. If I felt like praying, I was free to head to a park bench or labyrinth or a hushed and empty chapel, seeking God in the silence and solitude.

Now that I’m a mom, it’s not so easy to go and find God in other places. These days, I am where I am: in this small messy house, a place where the floor is an obstacle course of train tracks and where Cheerios go under the sofa to die. It’s a place of little-boy laughter and sibling arguments, of impromptu living room dance parties (mind the train layout!), and all-night stomach flu marathons. It’s my new reality—and it has made me realize the truth and the comfort to be found in Ignatian spirituality.

St. Ignatius famously wrote that we can find God in all things. To a busy mom, there are no sweeter words than that. When I pray the Examen, reviewing the events of my day, I am able to find God’s presence in the very stuff of family life: in the little-boy hugs, in the peace restored after a tantrum, in the kindergartener who is earnestly drawing a picture for Grandpa, in my four-year-old’s delight in chasing bubbles across the lawn. God doesn’t need me to leave home to go meet him. God is right where I am, right where we are, all the time.

And I’ve learned that when I scroll back through my day and look for evidence of God in it, I am blessed twice. This exercise lets me relive the random moments of grace and savor them; it also trains me to recognize them in real time, as they are happening. If I needed no other incentive to pray, that’s enough. One ten-minute evening prayer gives me a more mindful tomorrow, helping me see grace in the toys and the Cheerios and the laundry piles and in all the busy, God-drenched moments of a mother’s life.

26 COMMENTS

  1. Commenced my journey on the Feast of St. Ignatius and have been reading up so far. Your comforting (well titled) post makes me want to start the Examen immediately.

  2. Thank you for this. I was raised Catholic, lost my way somewhere between marriage and children and am finding my way back. The Examen is like riding a bike after so long; a bit rusty, comfortingly familiar and an amazing feeling of awakening in spirit. I welcome the 31 day journey and ask for grace and strength to be open to all God’s whispers.

    • Just starting out though have not ridden this bike before! Followed a course in Prayer and Spirituality some time ago and they recommended that I ‘balance’ my Thomistic prayer type with Ignatian style of prayer. I tried before but fell off the bike …. am ready to get on an stay on now. I too ask for grace and strength to be open to all God’s whispers .. joint prayers!!

  3. God doesn’t need me to leave home to go meet him. God is right where I am, right where we are, all the time.
    Good stuff, many thanks…

  4. It’s so hard to find God in all things. But it’s worth Practicing. 🙂 Thank you so much for this! 🙂

  5. Dear Ginny,
    Thanks for sharing this wonder of Ignatian Spirituality. God sends messages in real time to all of us.

  6. Thanks to all for your kind comments. I am sitting here, kids in bed, laptop on my lap, feeling so grateful to be connected to so many pray-ers. Many blessings for this month of Ignatian spirituality. (And Mary, now I’m craving donuts !… ) 🙂

  7. What a joy to spend the next 31 days online with Ignatius – and certainly have always considered the Examen an important part of my daily prayer. This is a great reminder to share this joy with my young great granddaughters.

  8. Beautiful words that has started out my day on good and sound footing. Thank you for being the inspiration to my day. Blessings!

  9. It’s in reading all these comments that I find inspiration and encouragement to Finding God in All Things. My intentions are always to set time aside to pray everyday and then day ends and I revile myself for not carrying through. Thank you for your thoughts.

  10. Dear Ginny,
    It makes me so happy to read about your happy and joyful family; thank you! The picture of the just-fried donuts though, brought a vivid, Proustian memory of my grandma and me in her kitchen when I was much too young to fry, but quite big enough to shake the hot donuts carefully in the brown bags of sugar which is the way grandpa liked to eat them…I hope Grandma that thought then, as I do now, because of you, that those moments were spent with God as well as with each other. I thank you, for allowing me to thank God.

  11. What a great reminder to take the time to recognize God in my day! When I do my examen in the evening, I sometimes have a hard time thinking that anything that happened during the day was momentous enough to remember. Your post reminded me that everything that happens is worth remembering!
    I posted the link to this on my Facebook page…I am hoping it inspires others to explore Ignatian Spirituality!

  12. St. Ignatius says that we can find God in all things. And I don’t even have to go anywhere to find Him.God is. God is here. God is with me. God never leaves me. Here. In the everyday stuff. God is so good.

  13. My kids are grown but I find that I still put off spending time with God. You’ve inspired me to go back to the Daily Examen – at least for the month of July – and to journal it. Praying it will get me back into better practices!
    Cathy

    • Cathy, Thanks so much for your post. Indeed, I will be joining you on this journey. I found God in your post today.

  14. Your words, so well put bring back memories. Wish I had be more appreciative back then. They also encourage me to look for the God given moments in front of me now. Thank you. I will also look for Tom’s book for future read. Sounds incite-full.

  15. Lynda thank you for these words…we have recently become first time grandparents and oh what joy…I am certainly finding God in the miracle of new life….in the innocence,smiles and total dependency of our beautiful grandson. As I watch him sleep trustingly in my arms I am drawn to long for that sense of trust and dependency on God!
    Thank you once again

  16. What a beautiful and simple explanation of the joy of Ignatian Spirituality! I no longer have the busyness of a home with little children although there are many other interruptions which God sends my way; however, I have the privilege of my grandchildren’s visits. Today I was explaining how God is in all things to my seven year old granddaughter who has an insatiable thirst for things spiritual. What a blessing to share Ignatian Spirituality with little children.
    Thank you for this wonderful post. Blessings.

  17. Ginny,
    I have rarely heard or seen the benefits of Ignatian Spirituality put so well. Reading this was beautiful way to start my day–even though the Barbie clothes and accessories (and runaway cheerios) are no longer scattered across our living room floor. Now there are other urgencies, other messes, other distractions in front of me and the practices that Ignatius bestowed upon us make this still-messy life a noble quest to see God in it all and reexperience the graces during the Examen at the end of the day. Thank you! –Tom McGrath

    • Tom, thank you so much for your kind words. Also, thank you for your fabulous book about raising faith-filled kids! I read it not long ago and absolutely loved it — it was so helpful and inspiring. Blessings on you and your family.

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