Today’s Lectio Divina:
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence? Galatians 5: 16-18 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #7: Ignatian spirituality is all about Holistic Spirituality. We intentionally focus on inward feelings, emotions, and desires, but we also live our lives in balance; tending to the body, the mind, and the spirit…our actions, our thoughts, and our feelings.
Our human existence is indeed a marvel to behold. A God-wonder too magnificent to contain.
The psalmist says it well:
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14 (NIV)
So, while modern science has brought much explanation and clarity to how our human bodies function, we’ve only scratched the surface when attempting to explain the complexities of the entire human experience. In the past two blogs, we’ve looked at the importance of how Ignatian spirituality requires both our bodies and our minds to be vital components of our spirituality. So today, let’s look at the third and final component of our humanity: our spirit.
You see, each human being is more than just a physical body…more than what you or I can see, touch or even imagine. Every human being that’s ever lived has been created by a Creator who does His work outside the limited dimensions of our universe. Yes, we do have physical bodies that must adhere to the physical limitations of planet earth. Yes, we do have amazing minds that help us reason and think our way through life. But, there’s more to us than just our bodies and our minds. In a word, we are spirit as well.
Whether we choose to recognize it or not, each one of us has a deeper existence that goes far beyond the physical limitations of the 70 or 80+ years we might live here on planet earth. Indeed, human beings are eternal, made in the image of God, with purposes assigned to our lives…purposes that, many times, go unexplored because you and I fail to grasp the reality of this unseen world we call spirit.
Every world religion does its best in attempting to address this unseen world of the spirit, but it’s only through the grace and mercies of a God that is bigger than this world that we can ever hope to find our way.
This is why Jesus of Nazareth is so important to the equation. It’s in and through Him, the Divine Son of God who was sent to us in human form, when this fog and uncertainty surrounding our truest self, our spirit, begins to lift.
So, without sounding too mystical and magical, let me simply ask you…
Have you ever taken the time to consider the deeper, spiritual realities of your life? Have you ever pondered your eternal existence that stretches far beyond the day you were born or the day you will die?
Ignatian Spirituality, and the Spiritual Exercises specifically, encourages us to go on a journey with Jesus of Nazareth, exploring these deeper spiritual truths about ourselves. Truths that are rarely discussed in our busy, everyday world where the only things that matter to us are objects that we can touch, feel, see, smell or hear.
But the world of the spirit awaits those who dare to explore beyond the limited dimensions of our physical world. And it’s there, with the guidance of God, Our Loving Creator; Jesus, His Divine Son; and the in-breaking work of The Holy Spirit, where we will find the truest purposes in life, both now and forevermore.
My prayer: Jesus, I confess that’s it’s far easier to focus on the material things of this world, living within the boundaries of this life while never exploring the larger realities surrounding this unseen world of spirit and truth. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear these deeper things about who I am, who You are, and how it all affects my everyday life both now and forever. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: In his letter to the Galatian church, Paul also writes:
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original. Galatians 5: 25-26 (MsgB)
Am I taking time in my everyday life to explore the uniqueness of who I truly am, as seen through the eyes of the Spirit? Am I far too consumed with making comparisons to others? Or am I free to explore the “implications” of my life in the Spirit, as it plays out in every detail of my life?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!