A few weeks ago, I met with my personal coach for our final session (at least for now). I mentioned to Jodi I’d been having vague thoughts that seemed bigger than my own imagination nudging me in a direction I wasn’t able to pinpoint. Jodi suggested working for a season with a spiritual director and gave me a name to contact.
This recommendation has begun a new level of spiritual exploration for me. It just so happened (Coincidence? I think not!) the spiritual director lives in Springfield, Missouri, and Ron and I had a vacation scheduled to that very region. My husband and I enjoyed a great getaway to the beautiful Ozark region, and I was privileged to meet in person with Dr. Debbie, a spiritual director.
I’m excited for this new segment in ‘listening on my journey…’ In addition to working with Debbie, I plan to join a group she’s leading on a spiritual pilgrimage study tour and prayer retreat to Spain in March, 2018.
While in Spain, we’ll be visiting places significant in the lives of three influential 16th Century Christians: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius of Loyola. We’ll also spend four days in a guided retreat on contemplative prayer.
This opportunity amazes me! I can say truly, I never even imagined the possibility of such an experience! I’ll travel with my husband’s blessing but also with trepidation. I’m kind of short and not so strong, and wonder if I’m going to be able to hoist my bags into the plane’s overhead bin without the help of my strong, tall man!
Prior to the pilgrimage, I’m reading different books in preparation. Today’s post includes photos Ron took while we enjoyed visiting in the heart of the Ozarks. Along with several photos are quotes I’ve read from St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius.
My favorite travel buddy! Ron and I shared many special moments in Missouri, including time in a pristine nature preserve, Dogwood Canyon. Recently, I read this quote about marriage: Our marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s ours. That fits for us! Ron and I are two imperfect people committed to a relational journey that’s “ours!” This tall guy and our marriage are among God’s very best gifts to me.
“Act as if everything depends on you; trust as if everything depended on God.” …
~ St. Ignatius of Loyola
Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love.
~ St. John of the Cross
“May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”
~ St. Teresa of Avila
God leads every soul by a separate path.
~ St. John of the Cross
Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they
enkindle and melt the soul.
~St. Teresa of Avila
St. Ignatius of Loyola
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
Debbie introduced me to this prayer of Ignatius. Suscipe is a Latin word meaning “Receive.” I’ve been praying the Suscipe daily and have also listened several times to a beautifully sung version. If you’re interested, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrX_T5QLBXQ
I expect greater spiritual understanding as I enter through this new gate. I’m certain I’ll share aspects of my journey with you. My hope and prayer are that the Divine Spirit will use any word I write to bring glory to God and encourage you to pursue the special path on which God has chosen your soul to travel. I love to hear, and always honor, stories concerning your spiritual direction.