Our Why

If you have ever read a contemporary self improvement book, the place they usually start is the identification of your “why?”  What’s the motivating factor in your decision?  Most of these books mention family, friends, financial security, health, etc. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of those reasons “why,”  but in my mind they fall short.  One only has to look at the disappointing long term results the majority of people achieve, to figure out something’s missing.  Could it be God?  The long and short of it is “yes!”

When Ignatius of Loyola was penning his Spiritual Exercises, he noted what he thought our “why” should be right at the beginning, in a section he called the First Principle and Foundation.  Fr. David Fleming SJ translated this last line using contemporary language:

Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me. [23]

Pretty straightforward, but also hard to do today.  For me, I take this line to mean that my why should speak to my singular desire to choose that which deepens my relationship with God.  That’s it.  If it/he/she strengthens my relationship with God, then I’ll choose to have it/him/her be part of my why.  If something or someone weakens my relationship with God, then I reject it and it/he/she has no part in my why.

I hope you can see the importance of choosing our why through the lens of faith. I think choosing this way reminds us that our choices can have eternal consequences.  Discerning our why(s) is an important exercise and deserves our time and effort.


An Easter Contemplation

A Happy Easter to you and your family!  I wanted to provide you with an Ignatian Contemplation today, when we remember Jesus’ rising from the dead.  Interestingly, St. Ignatius did not include a contemplation on the Resurrection as an event.  Instead, he focuses on the risen  Christ’s appearances (218-225).  Following an ancient tradition and found in The Life of Christ by Ludolf of Saxony, a work central to Ignatius’s conversion, the risen Christ and his mother are seen as talking to one another, delighting in the Lord’s Paschal victory. Our Lord revealed to St. Teresa of Avila that it was to the Blessed Mother that he appeared after His resurrection.  I hope you take some time, either today or during the upcoming days, to pray this contemplation.

Preparation:  I take a moment to call to mind the attitude of reverence with which I approach this privileged time with God.  I recall everything up to this moment of my day, and ask God to take all my thoughts and receive this time of prayer as an offering to His Glory.

Grace:  I ask for the grace of being able to enter into the joy and consolation of Jesus as He savors the victory of His risen life with His Blessed Mother.

Setting:  I enter into this contemplation as fully as I can.  Although I do not have a specific Scripture account to guide me, I easily imagine with a sense of excitement that Jesus would want to come to Mary and show her that He was not dead, but alive.  I imagine the joyful consolation Mary experienced and let that joy permeate my being.

I realize that the joyful consolation Mary felt is available to me.  Knowing that availability touches my heart deeply.  Jesus, who died for me, has now risen from the dead and offers me a share in His eternal life.  I do not let this overwhelm me, but rather I pray about how it might affect the way I live, how I think, and it fills me with hope.  I resolve to live my life more and more for Him each day and share my Christian joy with others.  How could I not live for Him and share the Good News with all those around me?


I end my prayer with a conversation (colloquy) with Jesus and His Mother.  I end my prayer with an Our Father.