Sue’s Note: The photos in today’s blog were taken by my husband during our September vacation to Southern California. One of my favorite activities during our relaxing getaway was a long, early morning walk on Coronado Island, sharing the beach with graceful sandpipers.
During a four-day contemplative prayer retreat at Cova de Sant Ignasi in Manresa, Spain, in 2018, my heart aligned with the 16th Century religious leader who founded the Jesuit Order. My admiration for Ignatius of Loyola deepened with each page I read in his biography, Alone and on Foot, by Brian Grogan, SJ.
For the next 9-12 months, as part of the Spiritual Direction program I started recently, I will be doing an intensive process known as the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.
Ignatius was from a wealthy family. During a long and painful period of recuperation from a wound he received during a fierce battle, Ignatius became committed to the mission of Christ. In time, he relinquished every earthly possession and lived the rest of his days in poverty, service to others and learning.
“Ignatius wanted to help everyone, no matter what age or stage of life, experience Jesus…” When I read those words, I thought, wow! That’s what I want!
Above all else, my deepest desire is to experience more and more of Jesus, to learn about and pursue a journey of being conformed increasingly into His character. I desire to let nothing but that which honors God possess me. This, I know, will be a lifelong process.
As I become aware of non-essential attitudes and behaviors, I want to be willing to loosen my grip on all that’s temporary—on everything I own, even everyone I love, every hope and every dream I hold dearly. I admit, though, I have no desire nor plan to give up everything, wear coarse burlap clothing, beg for food, sleep on the floor nor pray five hours a day as was the practice of Ignatius!
Ignatius identified with words written by the Apostle Paul in the second letter he sent to his friends in the Corinthian church:
An important part of the Spiritual Exercises is the Prayer of Examen done two to three times daily. The prayer is a simple process. I thought it might resonate with some Listening on the Journey… readers. Some may want to join me in this spiritual discipline.
PRAYER OF EXAMEN
- Give Thanks.
- Ask God to reveal your sins.
- Examine how you lived this day [or portion of the day] in thoughts, words, and deeds.
- Ask forgiveness
- Ask God for the grace to amend your ways.
2 Key Questions to ask each time:
– Where did I experience God’s love?
– How did God’s love impact the way I lived my life?
Blessings to all as we travel and grow together in our journeys of faith…