Day 31 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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A friend sent me this picture a few years ago on the feast of St Ignatius, with the note: ‘When too much St Ignatius Loyola is not enough!’ 😁

Today, dear people, is the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the #Jesuits and father of #IgnatianSpirituality. He is a gift to the Church and to humanity, over the ages. To the #FcjSisters he is a patron and fellow #companion. To me, he is a guide whom I can follow, and a friend whose counsel I can seek. I believe in the community of #Saints and so celebrate them.

Who is St Ignatius for you? What have you learnt about the love of #God for you, through his intercession or example?
#31dayswithIgnatius #godinallthings #fgiat #LoyolaPress #gratitude #foundiggy#catholic #saints

In celebration of Ignatian Spirituality, and to mark the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola (31 July), I have taken on the challenge of posting a picture a day that speaks to me of the lessons learned from all things ‘Ignatian’; including ‘finding God in all things.’ Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

REFLECTION | Be Salt of the Earth (With Courage and Confidence)

ImageIn today’s age, we take for granted, the commodity of salt. Our fast-food diet has more-or-less become saturated with so much salt, sugars and unwanted fats to excess that we now opt for products and diets branded as “sugarless,” “salt-free” and “low-carb.”

But salt has always been a natural mineral, as ancient as the earth itself. It has been used among other things, as a seasoning, a preservative (to keep meats for rotting) as well as an antiseptic. In the time of Jesus, salt was especially valuable. Roman soldiers were paid with salt (from which we have the word, “salary” in Latin, salarium) and we also have the phrase about a person “being worth his/her salt”, attributing to a person’s worth or value.

Imagine then, what it might mean for us today, that Jesus says to us:

You are salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. | Matthew 5:13-15

You are valuable. You are worthy. You are splendour, radiating God’s light. Stand firm, stand tall, in this confidence, that in God’s eyes, you are so wonderfully loved.

In Urgings of the Heart: A Spirituality of Integration, we read that this confidence in oneself first, is what enables compassion for others, in what is called an “I-Thou” relationship:

An “I-Thou” relationship with another requires that we first have an intimate relationship with ourselves… Intimate relationships depend on an inner connection: to be in touch with another, I must be in touch with myself. On the other hand, it is primarily through relationships that we learn about ourselves. | Au, W. and Cannon, N. Urgings of the Heart (Paulist Press, 1995), p.119.

As challenging as it can be, we need to foster a culture and mindset of compassion, love and acceptance of oneself with and in all our flaws. No one is saying that we are perfect, or that we will always be full of flavour, vitality and richness at every moment. But through the grace and gift of our lives as God’s children, we are encouraged to accept ourselves as worthy salt, and to stand confidently in the goodness of God, as God has made us. Only then are we more able to be light that shines for others (Mt 5:16).

"You are Loved" Message

For reflection:

Do you see yourself as valuable?

Note internally, where there is any resistance or challenge, if any, at the thought of you being of great value. Bring this to God in conversation.

Twilight

TWILIGHT (from dictionary.com)
twi·light / ˈtwaɪˌlaɪt / noun

1. the soft, diffused light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, either from daybreak to sunrise or, more commonly, from sunset to nightfall.

2. the period in the morning or, more commonly, in the evening during which this light prevails.

Keeping-Company.com

Photo: G. Tan, 2013


Let us prepare for Advent. Our theme is Advent at Twilight. Twilight is the transitional movement, usually of one kind of light to another. Spiritually, we may speak of the transition of one space to another. The Advent journey is in a way, a twilight space. Such ‘in-betweeness’ is also called a ‘liminal space.’

Richard Rohr OFM writes:

[It is] a unique spiritual position where human beings hate to be but where the biblical God is always leading them. It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are finally out of the way. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run…anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing. | Richard Rohr

 

Have you found yourself in a place of ‘not-yet’? How do you deal with this waiting? Are you easily anxious? Or are you so much of a doer that you don’t even realise you’re in a hurry?

Geek Excitement Again

You may or may not recall a certain geekish excitement that I posted with about our @walkwithyoufcj Twitter account some time in August. For those who don’t recall, I shamelessly posted about Fr James Martin SJ being our first ‘official’ Twitter follower and all the warm fuzzies and joy I felt because of it. Well thanks to Twitter again, I am pleased to inform you that I have just written and submitted a piece as a guest-blogger.

What I am excited about though, is the grace I have received through all of this, of adventure, of experience and of discipline. Personally speaking, I enjoy writing and especially on things of the spiritual/faith type. Being invited to contribute has meant that I have had to write to specific guidelines and to a certain time frame, which by the by, always seems to be interrupted by life’s turbulence.

Again I am grateful to the FCJ Sisters and the role I am in, which have presented these opportunities, both to further my self-improvement, but more importantly, to share the good news that is part of being a person of faith, a Christian, a companion of Jesus.

Geek, Catholic, Ignatian. God in all things, and ad majorem Dei gloriam (for the greater glory of God).

Sunset Panoramic – Frankston, VIC

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Sunset Panoramic Frankston Victoria

Image | Geralyn Tan, October 2013.

Overlooking the horizon off the Frankston foreshore: How broad, how wide, how vast is this beauty in God’s creation. How broad, how wide and how vast God’s love for us is!

Frankston (VIC) is home to John Paul College, a regional high school, half of which was formerly Stella Maris FCJ. John Paul College still remembers its FCJ heritage through its past pupils, its connection with the Sisters, as well as having one faction of their House System called D’Houet, after FCJ Founder, Marie Madeleine d’Houët.

Graced Moment

rainbow, grace, FCJ, Keeping-Company.com

Image credit: ‘A Rainbow Appears’, Wellness360studio.com

Graced Moment

A yellow sunbeam beckoned me
before day turned to night;
the air was clear and magic,
the sky was bright.
To westward, sheets of golden silk
shimmered and glowed,
luminous clouds hung in the sky,
rippled and flowed.
I turned around, an urge to seek
the eastern sky,
and there, clear arched above the road –
a rainbow high.
Both ends were anchored in the earth,
a perfect bow,
a blessing from the sky above
and earth below.
The colours radiated clear,
distinct, yet one.
A double arc crept into view;
the work was done.
Such scenes have happened here
since time began:
an arc with seven rungs –
part of the plan
to lift our minds to cosmic truth
and draw us home
to love’s embrace, the ancient goal –
no more to roam.
A cosmic child, summoned to tell
all time and space,
Earth speaks of star-dust images –
Creator’s face.

– Sr Mary O’Shannessy FCJ

In Everyday Splendour (Melbourne: Poetica Christi Press, 2011), 104.

Prayer | On Friendship

The concept of friendship comes almost naturally to us. We are social and sociable creatures, made to interact and relate to one another. As young children, we identify ourselves as so-and-so’s friend. As we grow older, we become more socially aware and eventually we recognise a pattern – that some friendships last for a while, and that some last a lifetime. In our maturing stages, we hopefully learn the and accept the value of being a friend to oneself.

Keeping Company, Keeping-Company.com, friendship

Friends are witnesses, for not only do they keep us company on life’s bumpy road, they also testify to our personal identity. That is why Jesus called his disciples, “no longer servants…but friends” (John 15:15), inviting them into fellowship with him in a community of equals. They still call him ‘Lord’, ‘Teacher’, and ‘Master’ but it is in friendship that they learn to live with one another.

It is usual to be surrounded by groups of people, and in them, we can (theoretically!) get along in a friendly manner. We can smile, say ‘hello’ and wish each other well, but sooner or later, life experience will set off a process of discernment, though it may not be conscious, because we fight, we argue and we hurt one another and we even fall out with one another. It’s part of our human reality. What those tough times do articulate however, is that friendship, true friendship, takes something special, based on the desire to love one another. Recognising the quality of friendship in another person is to mirror our self-recognition as a friend. With the other person, as well as with myself in mind –

I thank you, loving God, for the gift of friends. It is a special ministry to which you call us, because through our friends, you have a face. Being a good friend doesn’t always come naturally, so I ask for the graces of humility, reverence and compassion to aid my loving intention, so as to bring good news to our world. Amen.

Do you have your own insights on friendship? Perhaps you might like to comment below, in thanksgiving or intercession for yourself and for your friends. (Please remember to contribute responsibly and respect one’s privacy. Thank you.)

Empty, Hungry, Thirsty – Feast of the Sacred Heart

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heartglassConsider the following passages as we prepare to celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart:

Burning with true justice for those lost, hungry crowds, Jesus would give nothing less than everything – even if it cost him his life. | Frank Andersen, Eucharist: Participating in the Mystery, p.57

A little later on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus I was at the convent of the Sacred Heart waiting for Mass. I was reflecting on the happiness of those who belong entirely to God and whose only occupation is loving and communing with him. I regretted that I was not called to Carmel. Suddenly I distinctly heard a voice coming to me from the Crucifix on the altar: “I thirst.” I was deeply moved by these words. I knelt in adoration and offered myself to God with my whole heart for all that he asked of me. | Marie Madeleine d’Höuet, Memoirs

Empty, Hungry, Thirsty

How do we work to feed, fill and nourish one another in our lives, at home, at work and in our communities? Note the ways in which we do this.

How do we let Jesus fill us? Do we let Jesus fill us? Or do we feed our hunger with other food?

Bringing all these thoughts to God, gratefully end with thanks.

Walking and the Right to Movement

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Part of being a people of faith, justice and compassion is in our awareness of what goes on in the world.

Today I read that Palestinians in Israel have been denied the right to walk or run in a marathon. The article says, “Organizers sought to ‘tell a different story than the one of conflict and hate'”, but this has brought opposition from the other party. Where is the justice in such a situation?

Meanwhile there is also a reflection by Loyola Press editor, Vinita Hampton Wright, on walking as an act of faith.

A few thoughts come to mind, on:
• Our personal freedom
• The treatment and healthy use of our bodies
• An appreciation for our bodies, in all the faculties
• The way in which we all go through life, be it in swift urgency or slow contemplation
• And gratitude for all these, which are gifts from God

The Principle and Foundation [Exx 23]  is especially relevant here. May we remember and together pray and live in such a way that we affirm that we are created to praise, reverence and serve God, through the care of ourselves and all God’s creatures with balance, as is right.

What are your feelings toward today’s news from the Middle East?

What are your responses to Vinita’s video reflection?