SE Introduction: Session Seven.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. An ancient Chinese proverb.
OK folks, we’re one week away from beginning our thirty-two week blog series through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
Next week, my hope is that you’ll be ready to set aside a bit of extra time on at least three days per week to delve deeper into some scriptures, read a bit of commentary, and then sit for a few moments in quietness, asking our God to do what only a big God can do…
Touch you and me with His Divine presence, bringing His goodness and mercy closer to us as we open up a bit of extra time and space for Him to do just that.
As I’ve mentioned earlier in this blog series, we’ll be working from a wonderful sourcebook on the Spiritual Exercises called The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien. But before I tell you more, let me address a few basic questions that I’m guessing some of you, my dear readers, just might be thinking right now, but, quite honestly, afraid to ask…
Who in the heck is St. Ignatius of Loyola and why would I want to spend the next eight months doing his Spiritual Exercises?
I’m not Catholic and I don’t root for Loyola, so why would I want to read a textbook on Ignatius written by some dude who was once a lawyer and then, later in life, became a Jesuit priest?
Ignatian spirituality? Ain’t that something only for priests, nuns and a few select pastors to do in their spare time at seminary?
Let me quickly confess that these three questions (above) were similar to the ones I asked when my trainer in spiritual direction, Dave Nixon, told our class that this would be one of the main pre-requisites for Year Two of our training cohort in spiritual direction. So relax, folks…know that if you feel like an amateur here, you’re indeed, in good company!
The truth be known, I was about three or four weeks into the assignment before it occurred to me that this stuff could make a real difference in my life! At first, it was difficult for me to make a change in my daily routine. I was used to getting up early. That wasn’t the problem. But I was accustomed to doing my own thing in the early mornings and when I opened up O’Brien’s book, I was a bit overwhelmed to think that I’d be spending this much time dedicated to the scriptures, to prayer, and listening for God!
So for those of you who are a bit overwhelmed at the size of the task. Relax.
As one wise man once asked me, “Marty, how do you eat an elephant?”
The wise man could tell that I was stumped by his question, so he quickly answered it for me. “One bite at a time, Marty. One bite at a time.”
So, fret not, my friends. We’ll journey this pathway together, one step at a time. And next time, I’ll give you just a bit of background on St. Ignatius Loyola and the Jesuits. I think once you hear some of the history, you just might be more excited about tackling our next bite of elephant stew.
Dinner is served!
My prayer: Father, I’ve learned over the years that if I first give you my penny, You so very often reward me with a dollar or more! So with that mindset, Lord, I choose to step into this thirty-two week journey, knowing that I must not allow myself to become overwhelmed at the size of the task before me. Holy Spirit, come and lead me, one bite at a time. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What are my greatest obstacles to overcome as I prepare for this journey through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius? Is it my attitude? Is it my busy schedule? Is it my pride? Is it ….. (fill in the blank)? What one practical step can I take today in removing that obstacle?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.