The Feast of St. Ignatius


Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits and the writer of one of the most profound documents in Christian Spirituality, the Spiritual Exercises.  Coming to know Ignatius through reading, retreats and incorporating his prayer methods into my daily life has greatly strengthened my relationship with God and the people around me. I’ve become aware that we can find God in all things, and at every moment God never ceases to be with us on our own journey. I’m very grateful to the people who introduced me to Ignatius.

Vinita Hampton Wright from Loyola Press wrote this prayer to celebrate today’s feast.  I hope it strengthens you for your own journey.

Creator God, who loves pilgrims everywhere,
thank you for the journey of your saint, Ignatius of Loyola,
who marked the path for those of us who follow his example in following Jesus.
Thank you for drawing Ignatius to your grace and to a life of spiritual discovery.
Thank you for teaching him about prayer so that he could teach us.
Thank you for using a person so obviously imperfect,
so that we could have hope for ourselves.
May we continue on our journeys—as individuals and as the Church—
following Ignatius’s example of persistence, humility, courage, and gratitude.
May we grow to love you more dearly with every step we take.
May we invite others to walk with us,
and may we become loving and faithful companions to all who journey toward you.

If you have the chance, get outside and take a walk or a drive.  Open your eyes to the beauty of God’s creative actions, which never cease.



The Charge

A few weeks ago, I happened to stop by the retreat center where I lead my retreats.  I had wanted to quickly run in to pick up one of their brochures, and when I got into the building, standing there was a person who I made several retreats with.  I hadn’t seen her in about five years, which, sadly, was the last time I made my own eight day silent retreat.  She asked me if I was joining them this year, and unfortunately, I had to say no.  This darn doctorate!  It doesn’t leave me much time to do anything.

My friend asked me if I had seen Stephen, the person who had directed me on four Ignatian retreats.  Almost as soon as I said no, I saw him down the hall, heading into a conference room.  After I wished my friend well, I headed own the hall to find my former director.  I hadn’t seen him since my last retreat, but he recognized me right away.  We went deep during my annual retreats with him, and with his guidance, I grew to really love Ignatian spirituality.

On the last morning of my fourth retreat, I told Stephen I needed to get out.  I had walked all the trails of the center, and I was bored.  He encouraged me to visit Patapsco State Park, just about a mile or so away.  Within ten minutes I was driving down the road.  Within twenty minutes, I was already on a hiking trail.  It was a beautiful summer day, and I was feeling great.  I mean really great.  I think I was in probably the best shape of my life, and I felt charged with the grandeur of God.  My retreat had gone well, and I had made the decision to apply for a doctoral program, one which would help me formulate a plan to bring Ignatian spirituality to people dealing with chronic illness.

OK, if you were wondering why this blog post was entitled “The Charge,” here it is.  Thanks for being patient!  As I started heading back to the car, there was a pretty substantial hill on the right side of the trail.  As I walked along, I kept looking at the very top, and then, totally out of character for me, I left the trail and literally charged that hill until I reached the top.  I still recall the exhilaration, while at the same time asking myself, “where on earth did that come from?”  I was hardly winded, and didn’t even break a sweat.  Even a year before that charge, I doubted I would have ever made the attempt.  That day will forever be etched in my memory.  “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me” would be an appropriate Scripture passage to correspond with how I was feeling.

Unfortunately, I now find myself needing to get back into the shape I was  in.  Life has a way of getting in the way, doesn’t it?  Old habits have a way of sneaking back into your life, especially the unhealthy ones.  So, it’s time to begin again.  Have you heard, “New Every Morning” by Audrey Assad?  From the first time I heard it, it continues to encourage me with the thought of God’s constant presence in our lives, and every day can be a fresh start, no matter where we have been.

Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Ignatius.  Since Sundays take precedence, we won’t hear about him at church.  Happy Feast Day nonetheless!

Oh, by the way, I couldn’t find an image which tied to my experience at Patapsco, so this one from pixabay, certainly much more visually grand, conveys my message.


Independence Day

I don’t know about you, but I’m very grateful to be a citizen of the United States of America. Without a doubt, we as a country face many, many problems. One only has to think about the upcoming election to realize the shape we are in. That being said, we’ve faced a multitude of issues over our 240 years, but we have always made it through. And, please God, we will continue to do so.

As we celebrate our Independence Day, my own thoughts echo these words from a letter 41-year-old John Adams wrote to his wife of the Declaration : “I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

May God bless the United States of America, the land of the free and home of the brave.

photo by pixabay.