As part of my Spiritual Direction formation, I was asked to make a 19th Annotated Ignatian Retreat on the Spiritual Exercises. Whoa. I had heard of making a 30-day silent retreat with the Spiritual Exercises if you felt as though you may be called into a religious vocation. However, this version of the exercises was created for “busy” people. Instead of 30 days, you stretch it out over 30 weeks. I will be working with a spiritual director on a monthly basis to complete the retreat. I am committing to praying for an hour each day for the next 8 months. I am excited about this new journey, but also a little nervous as to what God will reveal to me.
These exercises were written by St. Ignatius of Loyola in the 1500s. He was a Spanish soldier wounded in battle. While he lay healing in the hospital, he experienced a conversion. He later wrote these exercises for prayer and founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).
Please pray that God will provide what I need during this retreat and for the grace to accept it! St. Ignatius, pray for me.
Have any of you ever done the retreat?
This is my praise report section and I offer it to you to add things as well. Sometimes it’s hard to see how God is working in our lives because we are too caught up in them and it may be easier to read how He is working in other’s live. It’s the best kind of reminder!
I believe that God asks us to partake in a mission for the present moment we are in. After working in full-time ministry for the Catholic Church for 14 years, I could easily get overwhelmed with the amount of work that needed to be down in building God’s kingdom on earth. However, St. Teresa of Calcutta’s words ring true, “do small things with great love.” God wasn’t asking me to save the world, He was asking me to be present to people – to whomever He brought into my path that day.
How can I be Christ to this person, in this moment?
Sometimes that could be a smile or a hug, other times it could mean I pay for their lunch or simply listen to what they need to share.
This became a lot less daunting to me and a lot more practical.
There were times when I simply offered a nice gesture (to strangers), times when I could sense what this person may need, but other times I just asked them. “What is it that you need right now?” I imagine that is also the way the Lord approaches us each day in prayer.
When I imagine Him asking this of me, my heart is instantly at ease. It also allows me the freedom to identify what my needs are and to communicate them. It forces me to feel humbled that He would ask, and also to trust Him with my heart. It pushes into the core of my heart and allows me to rest in His goodness.
Knowing that we are sinners and imperfect human beings, this practice of being in tune with others allows them the opportunity to trust us enough to care for them as best as we can. To also allow the Lord of the universe to care for them.
What are the missions of the moment that He is directing you towards today?