Today’s Lectio Divina:
Come on, let’s go back to God. He hurt us, but He’ll heal us. He hit us hard, but He’ll put us right again. In a couple of days we’ll feel better. By the third day He’ll have made us brand-new, alive and on our feet, fit to face Him. We’re ready to study God, eager for God-knowledge. As sure as dawn breaks, so sure is His daily arrival. He comes as rain comes, as spring rain refreshing the ground. Hosea 6: 1-3 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #12: Ignatian spirituality is all about living our lives for the Greater Glory of God (AMDG). We’re contemplatives-in-action; Christ-followers set apart for the glory of God and the service of others. Our mission, as we grow ever closer to Jesus, will mean that the road is our home.
Friends, there’s a reformation afoot.
A quiet fire of the Holy Spirit that is touching many across the fruited plain of North America.
Many pastors and church leaders are now deciding to stop-look-and-listen to the invitation of Jesus, stepping beyond what I affectionately call the 3-B’s, where success (or failure) in church life is defined by measuring (B)uilding size, (B)ucks in the offering, and (B)utts in the seats.
More and more church-going folks are discovering a simpler and more sustainable way to measure ‘success’ in church life. Through the help of some powerful tools of spiritual formation, and the inner freedom found by working alongside Christ-centered spiritual directors, I now consider myself to be a “recovering” 3-B pastor on my way to becoming a Christ-centered 3-C contemplative activist, measuring my ‘success’ today by simply following three ancient spiritual disciplines:
(C)ommunion with Christ (Jesus’ Great Invitation): “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30 (MsgB)
(C)ommunity with others (Jesus’ Great Commandment): “Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence. This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22: 37-40 (MsgB)
(C)ommission into our world (Jesus’ Great Commission): “God authorized and commanded Me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20 (MsgB)
Ignatian spirituality defines this simplified, three-pronged approach to Christianity as contemplative activism. My spiritual director, Micha Jazz, explains it this way…
Contemplative activism combines two ideas; firstly, the essential, yet often lost, art of drawing aside with God for prayer. This so often becomes little more than habitual action and most often is primarily made up of our human voices carrying concerns to God with little space to pause and listen to what God might be saying to us. Contemplation provides a door to discovering so much more about ourselves, each other, God, and His ways. However, there is a danger having ascended the heights through contemplation; we may never return and make our descent back into the streets of chaos within which we are called to carry out the mission of God. Secondly, therefore, we seek to live out prayer by rolling up our sleeves and serving the needs of the surrounding community. The contemplative activist develops this rhythm of ascent and descent in living the Spirit-filled life.
So, how are you approaching your life in Christ?
Is it full of “to do” lists, dominated by a busy “go-get-em” lifestyle that focuses exclusively on accomplishing good works for Jesus while hustling yourself through a life of sin-management?
If so, might I humbly invite you to take a break from your busy Christian life, sit for a moment, be still, and allow the Master to extend His three-pronged invitation of 3-C contemplative activism to you?
As I see it, one of the finest ways to respond to Jesus’ invitation is to find a Christ-centered spiritual director (a spiritual companion) and ask him or her to accompany you through the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. Hopefully, this blog series, Iggy’s Biggies, has stirred a hunger for some of the biblical truths embedded deep within Ignatian spirituality. You can read my story on how I came into awareness of these things, and hopefully, it just might encourage you to do the same.
In closing, might I add that I look forward to hearing from you, my dear reader, as you make your way on this journey with Jesus, making Christ-centered 3-C contemplative activism your stepping stones along the way.
Join us here on our website, visit our As I See It archives for more resources, and be sure to sign up for our As I See It blog and podcast series (see our home page for details). It’s all free and we know you’ll enjoy reading and/or listening to our podcasts as we continue our journey with the Master.
What’s that, you say?
You feel a bit uncertain about this trek?
No fears. You’re not the first one to question your ability to keep up with the Master. Allow me to bring a bit of comfort to you as we close by offering this humble prayer of one Jesus-seeking man named Thomas Merton.
My prayer: My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following Your will,
Does not mean that I am actually doing that.
But I believe that the desire to please You, does, in fact, please You.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust You always,
Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So now, what’s next? I’ve pondered the truths of Iggy’s Biggies. Now, what is the Master asking me to do or say in response to these things? Is there an invitation awaiting me right now? Is there a signpost just ahead that will direct me toward the next step with Him?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks, we have taken 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. Thank you for journeying with us!
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!