Sometimes in life, we find ourselves stuck and unsure of the changes we need to make in order to get to where we want to go. More often than not, we try to make these changes on our own, without a guide and/or tools. In those situations, we might make the changes necessary, but they are often short-lived and we fall back into old habits, finding ourselves right back were we started, or maybe even worse off. We know we want to get from one place to the next, from one side of the bridge to the other, but how can we do it effectively, with long-lasting results?
For me, the answer lies in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola, a heroic figure who lived over five hundred years ago and whose legacy is still making a positive effect in our world today. Now, of course there are lots of particular spiritualties to choose from, and all of them helpful to particular individuals and groups of people. But for me, I fell in love with the simple and time-honored spiritual practices of this Spanish saint, who had a radical conversion and became a companion of Jesus, taking the Gospel message to the ends of the known world.
This past weekend, I had the chance to give a group of retreatants just a few of the spiritual practices found in Ignatius's great work, The Spiritual Exercises. Our group only had the weekend, and during our time together we focused on five key practices:
- First Principle and Foundation
- The Examen
- Discernment of Spirits
- Meditation and Contemplation
- Finding God In All Things
Just five key practices, but in my own experience, their ongoing application in the lives of people who are striving for holiness and an ever-deepening relationship with God, they can be life-changing. They provide the means to help you get to the other side of that spiritual bridge, and you will never look back. Take some time and click on at least one of the practices above and give it a test run. If you find one spiritually fruitful, add another. Then another. And another. You will be amazed at how quickly your life will change. For millions of people over the past 500 years, Ignatian Spirituality has provided the bridge from where they were to where they wanted to be. Maybe it can be the same for you.
Thanks to all those who joined Nancy and I on the Ignatian Way Retreat this past weekend!
(photo shared by Jeanne S.)