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Welcome to TJC Journal 

Welcome to TJC Journal, which features members of TJC staff and Ignatian partners answering questions and offering reflections about Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius (see posts below).  Other online Ignatian prayer resources also are offered (see links to the right).  Additional prayer and educational resources appear in TJC's Ignatian Spirituality Resource Guide: http://jesuit-collaborative.org/welcome 

TJC Journal Links

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, Part 5

Oct. 21, 2015 - Part 5: Praying along with the retreatants of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life.

The Jesuit Collaborative, in conjunction with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and the Office of Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, is offering the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Boston and Baltimore. Each Wednesday during this 8-month long retreat, we are posting one of the prayers from the applicable "week" (phase) of the Exercises, and invite you to pray in union with the retreatants.

This week, the retreatants are praying the "Principle and Foundation", which describes our purpose in life and our relationship with God and creation.

With the retreatants, we invite you to prayerfully read the following contemporary translation of the Principle and Foundation:

"God who loves us creates us and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service of the God of our life.

All the things in this world are also created because of God's love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we show reverence for all the gifts of creation and collaborate with God in using them so that by being good stewards we develop as loving persons in our care for God's world and its development. But if we abuse any of these gifts of creation or, on the contrary, take them as the center of our lives, we break our relationship with God and hinder our growth as loving persons.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some responsibility. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a more loving response to our life forever with God.

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." (from "Draw Me into Your Friendship: The Spiritual Exercises-A Literal Translation and a Contemporary Reading", by David Fleming, SJ).

In the presence of your loving God, ask: How have I been a "good steward" of the gifts God has given me, including created things, my talents and my abilities? From my own experience, what gets in the way of my praising, loving and serving God? How do the following influence my choices and actions: titles, honors, possessions, career, opinion of others, lifestyle? Be as concrete as possible.

- Adapted from "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien, SJ (Loyola Press)

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, Part 4

Oct. 14, 2015 - Part 4 of praying along with the retreatants of the Ignatian Spiriutal Exercises.

In this final week of preparatory prayer, the retreatants consider God's invitation to greater freedom. They ask for the grace of growing interior freedom as well as freedom from "disordered attachments". In this context, we mean spiritual freedom - making God the center of our lives, and using all gifts of creation only to the extent to which they help us draw closer to God. In this way, we seek to avoid "disordered" attachments to anything (wealth, fame, possessions, status, etc.) which would push God out of our lives and become key to our identity.

With the retreatants, pray with Mark 10:17-27 (the rich young man):

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19You know the commandments: “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honour your father and mother.” ’ 20He said to him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.’ 21Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money* to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 22When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, ‘Children, how hard it is* to enter the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26They were greatly astounded and said to one another,* ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.’

Consider the rich man's spiritual freedom or lack thereof. Notice how Jesus relates to him. Ask "what attracts me to following Jesus, and what holds me back?"

- Adapted from "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien, SJ (Loyola Press)

The Jesuit Collaborative, in conjunction with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and the Office of Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, is offering the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Boston and Baltimore. Each Wednesday during this 8-month long retreat, we are posting one of the prayers from the applicable "week" (phase) of the Exercises, and invite you to pray in union with the retreatants.

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, Part 3

Oct. 7, 2015 - Part 3 of praying along with the retreatants of the Ignatian Spiriutal Exercises.

The Jesuit Collaborative, in conjunction with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and the Office of Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, is offering the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Boston and Baltimore. Each Wednesday during this 8-month long retreat, we will post one of the prayers from the applicable "week" (phase) of the Exercises, and invite you to pray in union with the retreatants.

This week, the retreatants (and you) continue with preparatory prayer, praying for the graces of a deepening intimacy with God and a greater trust in God. Pray with Psalm 63:1-8, below.

O God, you are my God, I seek you,

my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory. 
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you. 
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,*
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips 
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night; 
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. 
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Reflect on this passage for some moments. What do you thirst for? How do you experience God's steadfast love?

- Adapted from "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien, SJ (Loyola Press)

 

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, Part 2

Sept. 30, 2015 - Part 2 of praying along with the retreatants of the Ignatian Spiriutal Exercises.

The Jesuit Collaborative, in conjunction with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and the Office of Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, is offering the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Boston and Baltimore. Each Wednesday during this 8-month long retreat, we will post one of the prayers from the applicable "week" (phase) of the Exercises, and invite you to pray in union with the retreatants.

This week, the retreatants continue to "till the soil" before proceeding to the heart of the Exercises. They are praying for the grace (gift) of wonder at God's ongoing creation, and gratitude for the gift of God creating them and creating the world.

*************************************************
Pray with Psalm 8:
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth.
******************************************
Take some moments for quiet reflection. Marvel at the dignity of the human person. Give thanks to God for particular people who reveal God's loving presence to you.
Consider: Who has helped me get to this point in my faith journey?
- Adapted from "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien, SJ (Loyola Press)

 

Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, Part 1

Sept. 23, 2015 - Tonight, approximately 60 people will begin the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life in Boston and Baltimore. The retreats are being sponsored by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Boston College and the Office of Mission Integration at Loyola University Maryland, in conjunction with The Jesuit Collaborative. Over the next 8 months, retreatants will meet twice a month in group settings for prayer and faith sharing, will meet individually with spiritual directors twice a month and will pray at home daily, using both contemplative and meditative forms of prayer. Through their participation in the Exercises, the retreatants desire to grow in union with God, make good decisions in their lives and discern how they might follow Jesus more closely.
We invite you to pray for these retreatants as they begin their journey. Each Wednesday, we will post one of the prayers from the applicable "week" (phase) of the Exercises, and invite you to pray in union with the retreatants.

Our first prayer is from the "preparation days" phase. We read Isaiah 43:1-7:
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you, I give people in return for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not fear, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you; I will say to the north, “Give them up,” and to the south, “Do not withhold; bring my sons from far away and my daughters from the end of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
Pray slowly over the verses. What words or images move you? Consider: Who is God for me? How does God see me?

- Adapted from "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien SJ (Loyola Press)

 

Silencio para Conocer al Señor

Hace un par de semanas, junto a dos colegas de La Colaborativa Jesuita, estuve en St. Louis participando de la Conferencia de Espiritualidad Ignaciana titulada: El Silencio en el Corazón de la Misión. Nos invitaron, entre otras cosas, a presentar nuestro programa de formación con la comunidad hispana, haciéndonos la pregunta: ¿de qué manera invitamos a valorar el silencio como parte esencial de la experiencia ignaciana?

Necesario en cada retiro serio, el silencio es una característica necesaria pero no exclusiva de los ejercicios ignacianos. El silencio externo ayuda  al  recogimiento,  pero  es  crucial  sobre  todo  el  silencio  interior,  que predispone  a  la  escucha  de  la  Palabra.  Es  válido  para  retiros o experiencias de oración propuestas en el libro de los Ejercicios, en las Anotaciones 18, 19 y 20.

El silencio, como lo enfatizamos en nuestro Día de Oración Ignaciana, es clave para acercarse a Dios. Como dice la Madre Teresa de Calcuta: en silencio Dios nos escucha, en silencio Dios habla a nuestras almas, en silencio se nos da el privilegio de escuchar su voz (…) silencio de nuestros ojos, silencio de nuestros oídos, silencio de nuestras mentes. En el silencio del corazón, Dios nos hablará.

Acercarse a Dios es crecer espiritualmente, alimentar nuestra vida espiritual y desarrollar un corazón compasivo como el de Jesús. Creo firmemente que una de las gracias más importantes de la Segunda Semana, conocer a Jesucristo para más amarlo y seguirlo (EE 104), se consigue cuando uno hace silencio, escucha la Palabra, y deja que el Señor actúe en uno. En mi sencilla vida espiritual siempre me encuentro pidiendo “parecerme al Señor”, tener sus mismos sentimientos y ser reflejo de su presencia amorosa en mi trabajo, pero fundamentalmente en mi casa, con mi esposa y mis dos hijas. Y he aprendido que esa gracia se recibe… en silencio.

Leyendo la biografía del Papa Francisco, escrita por Elisabetta Piqué y publicada por Loyola Press (Francisco: Vida y Revolución), me llama la atención cómo se subraya el carácter ignaciano del Papa, sobre todo, su tremenda afición al silencio. De hecho, como todos recordaremos, al momento de ser presentado, Francisco invita a hacer silencio y rezar por él.

Dice Piqué: El Pontífice recurrirá al silencio –instrumento esencial de los ejercicios espirituales jesuitas—muchas veces a lo largo de sus primeros meses de pontificado. Lo usa por primera vez la histórica noche del 13 de marzo, luego de su elección, cuando, desde el balcón central de la Basílica de San Pedro, pide a la multitud que lo bendiga, en silencio. Volverá a pedir silencio un soleado primer domingo de junio durante un Angelus en el que invita a las 100.000 personas presentes a rezar por los caídos en todas las guerras, sus familiares y herido. Y en la histórica vigilia de ayuno y oración por la paz en Siria del sábado 7 de septiembre. Todas las veces, el silencio es imponente, escalofriante, necesario, vivo. (p.173)

En nuestra vida cotidiana podemos darle espacio a la experiencia del silencio. Quizás no tenemos que encender la radio para escuchar las noticias en la cocina o en el carro. O tal vez podemos dejar nuestro teléfono celular en casa y salir a caminar por el barrio o un parque. Si almuerza solo o sola en su casa, puede no encender el televisor. Déjese abrazar por el silencio, porque quizá el Señor Jesús está esperando pacientemente.

Hoy celebramos la Fiesta de San Ignacio de Loyola, fundador de la Compañía de Jesús e inspirador de hombres y mujeres que buscan al Señor para amarlo y seguirlo. Damos gracias por el modo en que Ignacio se acercó a Dios. También por su ejemplo e intercesión que nos sigue animando en nuestro caminar. Y al celebrar, pidamos la gracia de renovar nuestro deseo de conocer a Jesús en el silencio, para así en todo amar y servir.

Carlos Aedo
Director del Ministerio Hispano

"What Would Ignatius Do?"

By Kevin O'Brien

I imagine that Ignatius, as a 16th century person, would be alternately delighted and horrified by the many variations of what people understand as Ignatian spirituality today.  Much like the What Would Jesus Do people, I think we may assume too much similarity between our culture and that of the one we hope to emulate. Like other aspects of culture, prayers, pieties and liturgical movements all arise to meet the needs of a particular time, and then fall out of favor as new ones arise.  But a foundational aspect of the Ignatian spiritual paradigm, and what attracts me to Ignatius, is his deep, intuitive grasp of human nature. Many Christian spiritualties do a wonderful job of describing God and God’s work in the world, some even more beautifully than Ignatius. Fewer, I think, have as well a developed understanding of how we humans receive and respond to God’s initiative and invitation.  Ignatius helps us to experience God as we do all other reality, through our senses. He insists that God is not only accessible to everyone directly, but we have no hoops to jump through, God is already here and all we have to do is say “come on in.”

Ignatius also offers very practical advice about prayer, recognizing that most people are busy with their work, their families, their lives.  God is in our daily activities, and Ignatius helps us with practical suggestions about how to recognize God in the ordinariness of our days. He understands that a one-size-fits-all prayer regimen doesn’t work for the “all”. He encourages us to find the time and place and format that works for us. And, knowing human nature as he does, he insists that, once we find what works for us, we stick with it, no excuses! Finally, he knows we humans desire beauty and love, not doom and gloom. He shows us that this is also God’s desire for us. So, “what would Ignatius do” if he were in our midst today? I can’t say for certain, but I think he would see and understand the same yearning for a connection to the divine and to each other that he saw in his day. I think he would encourage us to keep at the Examen to address the same need for self-reflection that has existed forever. Finally, I think he would go all out in trying to open our eyes to the fact that God and God’s grace are all around us, just waiting to be grasped.

But, since Ignatius is not here in this day and age, the more important question isn’t, ”what would Ignatius do”, but “what will Kevin do?” And I think Ignatius would agree. 

“A Wise Man Once Said Nothing”

Even though it’s not yet Advent, maybe I’ve fallen victim to our society’s ever-more-premature focus on the Christmas season. Rather than Black Friday sales, I’ve been pondering my mother’s favorite carol, “Silent Night”. It’s become my favorite as well. It serves as an aural reminder of her love, both for her children and the holiday, and though she has been gone for 21 years, I am transported back to childhood. I swear the look of joy on her face at least matched those on the faces of my siblings and me as we opened presents on Christmas morning. And, though I would never admit it then, as a grumpy, brooding teenager, seeing her joy was the real gift to me on Christmas morning, not the radios, wallets and sports gear that she had been squirreling away for me since summer in anticipation of this morning.

But over the years I’ve come to appreciate more the carol’s message of Christ coming to us in silence. Most people who have known me through different stages of my life would probably find it humorous, or at least curious, that I would be writing about silence. As if I would know anything about that! Being pretty extroverted, and someone who usually doesn’t know when to shut up, I’ve had a curious relationship to silence. After all, introverts often intimidate me. I have no idea what they’re thinking! And a pregnant pause in a conversation? Why waste precious seconds on “dead air”? But I’ve gradually come to appreciate the precious few minutes in a day that I can experience true silence.  While far from being a wise man myself, I can appreciate the depth of the title quote above. 

It took me a while before I encountered the truth that silence is not the absence of something, rather, it is the presence of a different way of communicating. There’s a whole lot going on in silence. Sure, listening and attentiveness is involved, but there is still two-way communication going on. One of my favorite writers, Anne Lamott, says in her book Help, Thanks, Wow,

“Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we’re invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.”

What does it mean to “speak in silence”? Perhaps it means that we give our head (and all its attached organs: ears, mouth, eyes, etc.) a rest and let our heart do the talking. Giving your brain a break and trusting that the communication still happens can be scary. As someone who has organized silent Ignatian retreats for many years, I often encounter people for whom this is their first experience of spending an extended time in silence. I’m always happy to hear of their anxiety at the beginning of the retreat. To me, it means God is already at work in them, and they are taking it seriously. Almost every one of them will say at the end of the retreat what a positive experience it was. How it allowed them to connect with the Divine in new ways.

God speaks to us in many ways: in that small, still, voice; in the love of those around us; and in the majesty of creation, for example. But our faith teaches that God is also communicated through the pain and suffering of the poor and hurting. Is silence an opportunity to hear the “cry of the poor” as well? And once heard, aren’t we forced to respond to pain and injustice? Is this perhaps another reason we are uncomfortable with silence? Of course clearing our minds, ears and mouths of distraction allows us to find comfort and rejuvenation. But if we are honestly seeking God in our silence, we will encounter all the ways God is made known in our world.

We’re all familiar with Silent Night. Who can resist the heavenly hosts, a devoted couple following the will of God, the birth of a baby? But that’s not the whole story.  The other components of the story, not mentioned in the song but made fully explicit in the Gospel, include the poverty, oppression and institutional violence surrounding Mary and Joseph in that time and place. Of course clearing our minds, ears and mouths of distraction allows us to find comfort and rejuvenation. But if we are honestly seeking intimacy with God through silence, we will encounter the whole of reality in our world, both the joyful and the painful. And because we know that life is victorious over death, that good conquers evil, we aren’t afraid to take on death, to take on evil, to hear the cry of the poor and to respond. This is the moral of Silent Night.  Indeed, for Christians, this is the moral of the whole Christmas story. 

The Examen: A 500-Year Old Self-Help Plan

"We could go to hell for imitating the imperfections of the saints," wrote Dorothy Day, co-founder of The Catholic Worker movement. Nevertheless, she believed that these imperfections were the very things that endeared the saints to us.

St. Ignatius Loyola may be one of the most endearing saints. He was a colorful character who created a life that included both privilege and poverty, a quick wit, a flair for fashion, a penchant for pretty women, a stint as a soldier, and more than one stay in a sixteenth century prison. The life of Ignatius calls us to curious amusement as easily as it calls us to consider his unique approach to prayer, one that promises to find God in all things.

Ignacio de Loyola, born in Spain in 1491, designed a prayer called the Examen, the Spanish word for examination. True to its name, the Examen can assist people from every religious tradition, as well as those who don't affiliate with any specific faith, in examining their lives for signs of the sacred within their secular activities. Ignatius chose a remarkable and passionate life without the modern conveniences that bring comfort and predictability to our world. He lived "with one foot raised," always ready to spring into action to meet the needs of others.  If the Examen could become his prayer, and the prayer of his first followers, it could easily be adapted and adopted by us. 

It's a prayer so simple that it can be said while waiting on a long line, riding the train, rocking the baby or lying on a beach. The Examen can begin with a simple acknowledgment that we live in the presence of a loving God, who dwells within us, and longs to share in our every moment, from the magnificent to the most mundane.  For me, this awareness is always followed by feelings of deep gratitude for the many gifts that God has given me throughout my life and throughout a particular day.

The Buddha, who lived 2,000 years before Ignatius, taught that gratitude is the hallmark of enlightenment. Even the most recent research of the 21st century tells us that gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, helping us to be happier, kinder, more optimistic and less anxious. Numerous studies have supported the premise that everyone, regardless of creed or culture, can benefit from time spent in reflective thanksgiving. In the words of Meister Eckhart, the German theologian who preceded Ignatius by 200 years, "the only prayer one ever needs to say is thank you."

But Ignatius took his followers a little further than Meister Eckhart. Ignatius taught us to ask for the grace to see our sins and understand our misjudgments. Unlike a traditional examination of conscience, which focuses on wrongdoings, Ignatius crafted an examination of consciousness that cultivates an active awareness of God's deep and ever present love, even in the midst of our mistakes and the misery that can sometimes follow our missteps. The Examen can then move us through an hour-by-hour review of our day, with a focused attention on our thoughts, words, deeds and emotions.

Ignatius insisted that God's deepest desire is to be found not only in our triumphs and tragedies, but in even our smallest decisions and most casual relationships. He believed that God moves within our memories, dwells within our dreams and guides us in our grief, joy, and every emotion and activity. Ignatian spirituality suggests that God stands beside us in the kitchen and is seated with us in the car, on the bleachers or in front of the computer, consecrating all human activity with hints of holiness. Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner called it everyday mysticism, a concept easily embraced by both young and old, regardless of specific religious practice, or lack thereof.

The last steps of the Examen gently nudge us toward asking for forgiveness for our faults and resolving to amend our ways. Some may say that Ignatius devised a powerful self-improvement plan, while others see the Examen as a positive prayer of continual change that allows us to attain the balance that so many seek in our hectic, overscheduled lives. It pulls us out of self-absorption, pushing us away from blame and shame toward acceptance and affirmation. Who couldn't use more of that?

The Examen is a gift that St. Ignatius gave the world, inviting everyone to a comfortable and convenient prayer routine that promises a happier, healthier life, replete with an attitude of gratitude to grace our days.

--Pat McDonough
Coordinator of Ministry, NY Region

Fiesta de San Ignacio de Loyola

Cuando se nos pide presentar los aspectos más importantes de la Espiritualidad Ignaciana comenzamos con San Ignacio. Más en concreto, iniciamos nuestras reflexiones preguntándonos cómo Ignacio experimentó a Dios en su vida. Y al final nos hacemos otra pregunta: ¿qué aprendió San Ignacio en sus aventuras?

Ahí es donde compartimos tres características fundamentales de la Espiritualidad Ignaciana. Y hoy, cuando celebramos la Fiesta de San Ignacio de Loyola, queremos compartirlas con ustedes desde nuestra propia experiencia.

Encontrar a Dios en todas las Cosas
(Hna. Lisa Buscher RSCJ)

¿Cuándo fue la última vez que se encontró esperando en una larga línea para pagar por sus compras en la tienda deseando que avanzara más rápido y descubrió la sonrisa de un niño o la gentileza de alguien que le dejó pasar primero? ¿Ha podido maravillarse ante los colores del atardecer o ante la voz de su esposo, esposa, amigo o amiga contándoles una historia?  Disfrutar de esos momentos es capturar pequeños atisbos del inmenso amor de Dios por nosotros. Esos momentos nos rodean e impregnan toda nuestra si estamos abiertos a ellos. Nos llevan a una manera de ver, escuchar y darnos cuenta de Dios y de las cosas de Dios.

En el Principio y Fundamento de los Ejercicios Espirituales, San Ignacio nos recuerda que “todas las cosas del mundo son dones de Dios, dados a nosotros para que podamos conocerle más fácilmente y devolverle el amor más rápidamente” (Adaptado de EE 23). Al vivir y practicar la Espiritualidad Ignaciana somos invitados a descubrir más y más cómo todas las cosas, cada una a su manera, reflejan la bondad y ternura de Dios.

Así que, al celebrar la Fiesta de San Ignacio, ¿dónde y de qué modo ha sentido la bondad y ternura de de Dios?

Ser Contemplativos en la Acción
(Carlos Aedo)

Ser padre de dos niñas pequeñas y también esposo no es fácil en estos días. La vida parece más compleja de lo que era antes, por lo menos en mi experiencia. Siento la necesidad de vivir una vida que me ponga en contacto con Dios, ya que necesito saber cómo amar a mi familia en medio de las vicisitudes del mundo de hoy y mis responsabilidades en el trabajo. Además, muchas veces parece un lujo dedicar tiempo exclusivamente a la oración y el discernimiento.

Pero si algo he aprendido del modo de proceder de Ignacio es que sí es posible ser contemplativo en la acción. Es una gracia que tengo que pedir constantemente, pero sí es posible. Se puede estar en contacto con nuestro Dios en las actividades diarias. Se es capaz de estar en sintonía con Dios al llevar a las niñas al colegio, al preparar el desayuno, al lavar la ropa, al cuidar a una hija enferma, etc. Por esto mismo, esta gracia me ayuda a discernir cómo amar y servir a mi familia en el día a día. Me ayuda a ser capaz de ver a Dios en lo cotidiano de mi vida, y también me hace desear tener una relación íntima con Dios.

Libertad y Desapego
(Lisandro Pena)

Desde mi experiencia, la Espiritualidad Ignaciana me ha enseñado a encontrar el verdadero sentido de la libertad y el desapego. Ignacio creo fue muy consciente de qué era lo que le impedía a él y a otros llevar una vida de libertad y gozo. Cuando Ignacio nos enseña que debemos estar “desapegados,” se refiere a no estar atados a cosas sin importancia en nuestra vida.

¿Qué sucede si mi preocupación dominante es hacer dinero? Corro el riesgo de no poder vivir una vida social con todos ya que algunas personas pueden convertirse en un obstáculo para mi fin. Poco a poco todo lo que vivo y soy gira alrededor de ese deseo por tener dinero. Ignacio vería mi vida como un “afecto desordenado” que me impide ser libre para conocer nueva gente, pasar tiempo con mis seres queridos y verlos como fines y no como medios para alcanzar lo que materialmente aspiro. Ignacio, estoy seguro me invitaría al desapego, hacia el aumento de mi libertad para mi crecimiento como persona y aproximación hacia Dios. Una vez que hago eso, me encuentro más libre y más feliz porque es Dios quien está al centro de mi vida.

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