Day 21 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

IMG_20160721_221426.jpg#Day21of31withIggy: After yesterday’s emotional day, and today’s busy one, I seek #solitude and #silence. A perfect expression of my mood at this moment comes from the Spiritual Exercises, no. 234.

#31dayswithIgnatius #prayer #blue #spex #spex234 #suspice #love #grace #quote #qotd #StIgnatius

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).

Day 18 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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Have been thinking about my #motives today; about my intentions, and why I do the things I do. I’ve tried to be as Mary, to evaluate the#inner, rather than jump from one task to the next task, like Martha. What it comes down to is this reminder and challenge: to clothe oneself with kindness, #compassion, tenderness and mercy. To serve from a place of love, yes, but not without first attending to Love by sitting still.

#31dayswithIgnatius #marymartha #gospel#reflection #meditation #self #awareness#prayer #ignatian #mercy #love #Jesus

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).

Day 4 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

#Day4of31withIggy: God fills our days with #surprise. Here is Baxter, a rescue #dog and now newest family member. I also learnt today from our neighbour that a dog’s nose print is unique and individual to each, as a fingerprint. There’s no mistaking the hand of God at work here in all #creation. And in and through it all, God loves and cares for each one.

iggyday4

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’. Here it is, as posted on Instagram (@fcjAustralia).

REFLECTION: Companionship on this Feast of St Ignatius

Today is the 31st of July, marking the feast day of St Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus and father of ‘Ignatian spirituality.’

As one associated with the Asia-Australian province of the FCJ Society, an order of Catholic women religious, who live according to the Ignatian principles, this day is not without its celebration. But furthermore, as an individual person who professes discipleship and faith, I am invited into companionship with God, who is found in all things.

I have been reminded of this in a very simple way today when I received the company of ‘boss-extraordinaire’ and friend, Maureen, on her return from her two-month trip overseas. How blessed we human beings are as a specie, to be gifted with the grace of intentional companionship that we so often take for granted!

What this enabled me to see is that even in the midst of an ordinary visit from one person to another, even in the passing of one smile to another, we can see and are invited into the loving relationship that is union with God.

And in a spirit of gratitude, not unlike that of St Ignatius in the Suspice, we acclaim:

You have given all to me.
To You, Lord, I return it.

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Where have you found God today? Where are you being called into companionship today?

Another Side of Romance

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In light of upcoming Valentine’s Day, Vinita Hampton Wright reflects on:

…What happens to a person willing to be swept up in love.

Romance requires an open heart. Whether you are lifted out of yourself by a kiss or by a prayer of deep contemplation, neither can happen before you say yes to the possibility. Yes sets in motion new relationships, new conversations, and new avenues for showing others care. You don’t get to the kiss before you allow your eyes to meet another’s. You don’t get to the gifts of friendship until you say yes to the talk over coffee. You don’t get to that sense of the Divine until you say, in some part of yourself, yes, even though you have no idea what you’re saying yes to.

Romance is risk. It’s difficult to experience romance of any kind while you are fearful and self-protecting. So, whether or not February 14 signals to you the celebration of a significant other, I believe that God wants to see real romance in your life. Divine Love wants you brave and joyful. If you don’t feel particularly brave or joyful, be willing to get there. That’s a start.

For me, what’s important is our openness and ability to make space on our hearts for love. Sometimes we might say out loud that we love one another, but perhaps more often, talk about having love for another (“Do unto others…”) in our regard for the other. Yet children express it so freely, even though it is known to the adult: “I love you to the moon, around the sun and around the world 500 times and back.” Why might that be?

Perhaps it has to do with a child’s innocence; not naiveté but innocence. Love is so important to them. Expressing it is so important. And therein lies the fort of being,  waiting to be unlocked with the key of courage.

You don’t get to that sense of the Divine until you say, in some part of yourself, yes, even though you have no idea what you’re saying yes to.

Romance is risk. It’s difficult to experience romance of any kind while you are fearful and self-protecting.

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Reflection:
• In prayer, do you allow for romance with God’s love?
• “Only by loving and being loved does one become truly human.” -William Johnston SJ

One Way to Pray: Articulating Desire

Some unwelcome anxiety visited me recently. I grew restless, bothered and even fearful. But then I recalled a song and let it play, and soon this prayer became my prayer and the anxiety fleeted.

What I learnt here is that one way of praying is by being open and availing in oneself, space for the Spirit to work. Furthermore, this doesn’t always require words or gestures, merely presence and sincere desire.

God will take care of the rest.

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This is my desire:
To honour you.

In my waking at first light.

Through each task before me,
Whether a challenge or easy.

In every word and thought
Every blessing and every greeting
In every grit and every grace

No matter the score
In victories or loss
In worry or doubt
In confidence or contentment

Until the cloak of night
At the end of the day.

This is my desire:
To honour you.

Where have you been open to God?

3 January 2015: Feast of the Holy Name

In observing and contemplating the name and the person of Jesus, I invite all to pause for a moment and reflect briefly on the significance of baptism, where we are called, named and presented to the Church, for Christ, as Christians.

What does it mean to identify oneself as Christian? To share in Jesus’ name?

“Be worthy of your beautiful name by love for Jesus – a love shown not by mere words or barren desires, but by courage in His service.” – Marie Madeleine d’Houet

For further consideration:

What’s in a name?

Vocation comes from the verb vocare, meaning ‘to call.’ By what name am I called? What was I called as a child – by my parents, family or friends? Is that still the same name, or has it changed over time? Does the name by which I am called ‘fit’ with the person who goes by it?

 

Vocation and Identity

Intricately linked are one’s vocation and one’s identity. How am I, in the eyes of God? With what or whom do I identify? We remember the truth of the psalmist’s words:

 

Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me…

For it was you who formed my inward parts
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

(Psalm 139: 4-5, 13-14a)

– Extract from A Letter to the Sisters for National Vocation Awareness Week 2013

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Insight: The Faith of Children

A few weeks ago, my son had brought home to me, a curious little egg-carton with some soil inside.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“They’re my carrot seeds,” he replied. “I need to water it every day and put it on the window sill.”

Not having a green thumb or much exposure to gardening of any sort, I figured this kid would know best since he plays with dirt at school.  I followed his every instruction and added that we ought to have a container to catch any water that might drip from the papier maché carton.

So we waited.

He checked it daily, and watered it. I even heard him tell his ‘plant’ a little story so that it would grow. We all thought it was very cute that he had something to look after, to be responsible for and to tend to. I admit that I didn’t think much of it, save the fact that it was a nice project my son was taking interest in. I honestly didn’t think anything else would eventuate when, today while I was buzzing around from one thing to another in the school-morning rush, my daughter checked on her brother’s plant and exclaimed, “It’s sprouting! It’s sprouting!”

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——–

What I’ve taken from this is the marvel of a child’s faith. Jesus taught this: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt 18:3-4)

In our own faith journey, and especially in our lives as people of God, we often doubt the possibilities of the unknown or neglect to nurture the seed with which we’ve been entrusted. We think we know better in our maturity since we’ve experienced life and its share of disappointment at the times the seed has not germinated. But thanks to God, through the lives of my children, I was reminded again that I ought to be more humble, to love with tender devotion and to embrace the simple joys in daily life.

Keeping Company Creates Community

I was delighted to receive something in the mail, and especially happy because it was Pope Francis’ new book, The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church (Loyola Press, 2014). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love my job!

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Thank you, Loyola Press!

We all know what a fan I am of dear Francis and I am eager to get to know more about him from his thoughts and writing. But what’s touched me most is the thoughtfulness I have been shown in the simple gesture of a personalised greeting. It is my firm belief that sincere and honest sharing or dialogue between two parties is the work of the Spirit, and I also believe that through the other’s keeping company with me (and vice versa), a spirit of community is formed.

Email, instant messaging and “likes” are how we seem to communicate with one another these days,  so it feels extra special to receive something handwritten. It says, “I think of you in the choice of paper or card on which to write.” If it is a greeting card,  it says, “I take you into consideration as I choose the design or message within.” If not, then at the very least, written correspondence says, “I think of you as I form the words in my mind and place them on to the page.” Typing/swyping has its advantages in the ability to delete what you’ve written before you hit ‘send.’

Before I sink into this generous gift-of-a-book, let me leave you with the following to consider:
• When was the last time I received a personal letter or gift in the mail?
• When was the last time I sent something; either to surprise someone or for no reason at all, other than to keep in touch?
• Is there a card, message or letter for me to send, that has been put off?
• Are there people in my life who I can write to,  just to say, “hello”?

There’s a high chance you’ll feel good sending something, and more probable still, someone’s day will brighten. Who knows: you may receive something back in return! Try it out within the next few days.