For as strolling, walking and running are bodily exercises, so every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and, after it is rid, to seek and find the Divine Will as to the management of one's life for the salvation of the soul, is called a Spiritual Exercise. ~First Annotation
Feeling out of shape? Beginning Monday, March 1st at 7:30pm, we will be doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises adapted for everyday life. Tim Malone, M.Div., will be leading us into the great discernment of spirits that was developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. Ignatius himself while undergoing a radical conversion to the ways of Jesus Christ, spent time living in a cave writing his Spiritual Exercises. This became the 30 day Retreat that all Jesuits are required to do during their formation. Eventually the 30 day retreat became available to lay people in a format that was more doable with a busy schedule.
The Exercises include a method of examining one’s consciousness of God’s activity in our lives. How has God touched you today? What was the moment that seemed most life-giving? Was there some joy, peace, or feeling of love that stands out in your day? These questions accompany the search for God’s presence in our everyday life. We don’t need to wait for Sunday. God is present in the most mundane activities, even writing a bulletin article!
The Examen also looks at where we felt most drained, strained, or distant from God. When did we begin to feel discouraged or anxious? What were we thinking or doing? This revelation is a way of rejecting anything in our life that holds us back from a life lived fully in the presence of God. Ignatius speaks in the “PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION” of ridding ourselves of all that hinders us in our goal of praising and serving our Lord:
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it. For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.
Would that we could make this principle our guide. Over the course of 12 weeks, through Lent and Easter, we will have that chance. Please join Tim Malone in finding the voice, presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit in your life through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. All are welcome. Daily prayer is an essential commitment for this series. Dispel all fear and take advantage of this wonderful course and facilitator.
Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest; to give, and not to count the cost,
to fight, and not to heed the wounds, to toil, and not to seek for rest,
to labor, and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do thy will.
Prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491 – 1556)
DAY ONE: Before I even got to Honduras I was experiencing an adventure. I like to stay in Houston overnight rather than taking the redeye at midnight from Seattle, which for me is a form of cruel torture. I never sleep. My friend Sr. Uyen from Baton Rouge drove from Louisiana to pick me up and take me to Fr. Hai’s parish where I stay. We had time, so we went straight to the new Cathedral in downtown Houston, a magnificent building just opened in the past two years.
Next door was the chancery so I sought out Dr. Marcella Colbert, national director of the Gabriel Project. She was free and able to join us for dinner, so I was able to pick her brain a little more about the Project that provides parish-based support for women in crisis pregnancy. St. Stephens has received permission from Archbishop Brunett to start the Project and be a model for the rest of the Archdiocese. Dr. Colbert will probably be coming in September to offer training to volunteers. To get more information about Gabriel Project, please see: http://www.diogh.org/RespectLife/gabrielproject.htm
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