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).

Day 30 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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Day30of31withIggy: text from a favorite prayer of #StIgnatius, the Anima Christi.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within your wounds hide me.
Permit me not to be separated from you.
From the wicked foe, defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me
and bid me come to you
That with your saints I may praise you
For ever and ever. Amen.

From Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book © 2009 Marquette University Press. Used with permission.

I love that for all the prayer’s asking, it ends with praise.

#31dayswithIgnatius #IgnatianSpirituality#prayer #quote #saints #god #amdg

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 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 9 of #31DaysWithIggy

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Took #Iggy out into the #garden to get some #sun. It’s a beautiful day and neighbourhood #birds and #children alike broke out into silly #song, with the latter singing #handelsmessiah (no joke). Little did they know they were #praisingGod.

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 8 of #31DaysWithIgnatius

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St Ignatius said to his #Jesuits – “Go, set the world on fire!” No, not literally, but apostolically. Go and live the #magis – the #more – in a way that seeks to know Christ more fully, to love him more deeply and to follow him more passionately.

Even in the small quiet moments, one can still #celebrate with #joy and #gratitude. And #sparkle.

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: 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?

A Golden Opportunity: Just Begin (31 July 2014: Feast of St Ignatius)

Please join me in a little cross-congregational companionship. Here’s the prayer for today from our friends at the Redemptorist order (CSsR) via their Bread4Today page, on 31 July. It’s also the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and the Ignatian way of life that the Faithful Companions of Jesus embrace.

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One part of Ignatian prayer is to “ask God for the grace you’re seeking.” Sometimes in prayer, as in life, we don’t know what we are looking for, so coming to the awareness of such knowledge can be grace itself.

I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting what I see as a good ‘first step’ in beginning a prayer: Just show up. Just begin. Check in with God, make that time for God and for you,  even if it’s as little as two minutes of heartspace.

When your prayer isn’t flowing or when you struggle to begin, how do you find ways to make that transition?

You’re welcome to share these insights with us.

Have a blessed day, wherever you are, and however you’re praying.

St Ignatius of Loyola,  pray for us.
All saints named and unnamed, pray for us.

On Pilgrimage: Peace Follows

I will not lie. It has not sunk in that I’m heading to the airport tomorrow. I haven’t even finished packing and there are still last-minute errands to run. I am nervous about it and by nature, prone to anxiety, but these are the realities of my experience.

However as I have slowly put things together, I have received messages of kindness and blessing from the FCJ sisters, who’ve gifted me with this opportunity to France. So to you sisters who have wished me well, thank you.

I would never have thought I’d be here right now. A few years ago I applied for a job that was advertised. It seemed to fit my requirements yet still accommodate my family-oriented lifestyle. I didn’t know then how long I would last in the role, whether I would like it or whether we’d get along (the job and I). I didn’t know what the future would bring. I had no knowledge of the FCJ charism, barely any formal work experience, no familiarity with the schools and no background link, except for my faith. All I knew was that an avenue of faith expression was important to me. I didn’t particularly seek to work in the Church or with religious sisters.

But trust in my gut I did, and I applied for the job. An outsider, an unknown into a brand new role that had no precedent or predecessor. I knew that whatever story I had to read, become acquainted with and eventually promote would not be an easy task. But on board the train I jumped, to Destination Unknown, and here we are now.

It’s funny how things have worked out. I’ve not ever really focussed on one goal or career path. I studied and grew up with girls who were driven from the time they were fifteen. Many have since become the doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals they set out to be. I left school, signed up for a degree with no definitive job prospect and here I am.

Looking back at the uncertainties and risks I have taken, with regards to a career or livelihood, it’s safe to say that I have lived rather ‘carelessly’ in the lack of planning I have actually done.

But what have I done? I have noticed in myself anyway, the propensity to, on arriving at a situation or life-stage, give it a go, with the little that I have and a whole lot of sincerity and best effort. I trust wholeheartedly in the guidance and protection of God who goes before always. I don’t always go where God calls me (I am human after all), but this same human can and does also attest to the fidelity of God.

No matter where you are in life, or where you want to go, peace follows where God leads. I suggest you go with God.

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Insight: The Personification of Ignatian Identity: Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ, Jesuit Priest Killed for Staying with People

It was in the middle of the night when I found out that Dutch Jesuit priest, Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ was shot dead by a masked gunman in Syria. The news was like something out of an action movie. I had read about this priest a few months ago, when he made headlines for refusing to leave the besieged area of Homs, so long as there were still people there who were suffering. Having lived in Syria since 1966, van der Lugt was said to have been well respected by the community around him. Spokesperson for the Vatican, Fr Federico Lombardi SJ is reported to have said of Fr Frans’ death:

“This is the death of a man of peace, who showed great courage in remaining loyal to the Syrian people despite an extremely risky and difficult situation.”

I personally stand in sorrow at the death of such a man, but also with great admiration and encouragement. Though our brother-Jesuits have lost one of their own, though the people of Syria have lost an ally and a friend in Pater Frans, the Church and the world have gained in him, an examplar of faith, courage and fidelity to God.

As I thought about the loss – and it is indeed very much that – I remembered the words of St Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus to which Fr Frans belonged, and spiritual father of the Faithful Companions of Jesus. In his Principle and Foundation [SPEX #23] we have a teaching on indifference (better understood as non-attachment), application of which does not come so automatically to our human nature:

Frans van der Lugt: Keeping-Company.com Yet we have in Fr van der Lugt, an immediate and real-life example of this ideal, personified. In his life of service and ministry, we see how his actions came from a deep conviction of God’s call to love, and in his death, we see a man who devoted his whole life to the greater glory of God. Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

May we remember in our thoughts and prayer, the memory and repose of Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ; the people of Syria to whom he served and for all who are affected by war and civil unrest. We also pray for ourselves as members of the faithful, to be in the world, in like example of Fr Frans and St Ignatius before him, as lovers of peace, restorers of justice and people for God.

6 Tips on Prayer in a Digital Age

How’s your prayer life?

…The body of Ignatius’ writing does not seem to advocate any one form of prayer. He was not concerned whether a prayer form was more ‘advanced’ but whether it was authentic for an individual and a wellspring of integrity and service. | Katherine Dyckman, et al., The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women (2001)

Keeping CompanyBearing this in mind, here is an extract from an article by Carole A. Crumley, in the Huffington Post, which recognises the difficulties that can come up in our digital age:

There are many ways to pray, many ways to open to God’s living presence and nurture an awareness of the sacred in daily life. Whether you are just beginning on a spiritual path or seeking to deepen your spiritual practice, here are some ways to begin or begin again.

6 Tips on Contemplative Prayer

  1. Establish a daily set-aside time when you can honor your desire to open to God. We recommend 20 minutes of silent prayer time daily. For some that might seem like a long time. For others, it may be way too short. The exact number of minutes is not that important. Start with what is right for you. The important thing is doing it daily.
  2. Create a set-aside place, a space that honors your intent, where you can sit comfortably and uninterrupted for your prayer time. This might be a prayer corner or even a prayer chair. If a chair, just make sure it is different from the one you sit in to watch television, work on your computer or take a nap. A different chair will help you be more alert and attentive in your prayerful listening. You might also place a candle or flower or image in your prayer space, something that helps draw your focus to God’s presence.
  3. Begin with stretching and releasing any physical tensions. We carry the tensions of the day or night in our bodies. Notice the places in your body that are tight or constricted. Stretch into those places, hold for a moment or two, and then relax the tension. Sometimes a gentle body-stretching practice is all that is needed to quiet the mind and prepare the body for opening in prayer.
  4. Notice your breath. Your breath is a spiritual tool that you always have with you. It is your most intimate connection with God. Sense your breath as a living instrument of God’s spirit, ever cleansing and inspiring. At any time or place, you can notice your breath. Is it rapid or slow? Shallow or deep? Just noticing and slowing your breath can quiet the mind and draw you deeper into the heart of God. It is the most fundamental practice in the spiritual life.
  5. Open to God’s living presence, keeping your desire for your own and the world’s fullness in God before you in prayer. No words are needed. Simple, quiet openness and availability are enough. Trust that God’s healing, transforming power is at work whether you know it, you believe it, or not.
  6. Find support for your spiritual life. Support can come in many forms. Listen to music that stirs your soul. Go to a museum and feast your eyes on great art. Walk in nature. Read some of the great classics by contemplative authors. Study the lives of the saints. Find a spiritual director who listens with you to the movement of the Spirit in your life. Attend worship services that nourish your spiritual heart. Seek out others who share a similar desire and join with them for dedicated times of prayer.

For the full article, click here.

Our Sisters are compassionate listeners with experience and qualifications in the ministries of chaplaincy and spiritual direction. If you would like to explore this further, or make initial contact, please do not hesitate to get in touch via: email or Facebook.