Fr. Michael Schleupner offers today’s third post in a series about St. Ignatius. Let’s learn more about discernment and how to incorporate a better practice of discernment in our own lives. We also want to wish our readers a Happy Father’s Day! We’ve added a prayer at the end of the blog for all of the father figures in our lives. Pray with us…
Saint Ignatius of Loyola – 3
One of the major features of Ignatian spirituality is discernment. For Ignatius, discernment of what God wants us to do is more than decision-making. It is that, but it is making the decision by looking within, at our inner selves, and looking outside, at relationships and experiences in life. Discernment is looking at all of this prayerfully and with the intention of learning God’s will for us.
Ignatius believed that we could hear God by being attentive to our inner life. So, he first trusted his deeper feelings. He believed that the joy and fullness that he felt from even just thinking of giving his life to Christ was God speaking to him about what to do. Likewise, he believed that the emptiness that he felt from just daydreaming about a life of honor and romance was also God speaking to him about what not to do.
So, Ignatius says: trust your deeper feelings. Something is going on especially in strong positive and strong negative feelings. There is some message here from God.
Ignatius was confident that God speaks to each of us directly. God loves us personally, and we have a relationship with God.
Another theme that is central to Ignatius is journey. He saw himself as on a journey, always delving deeper into his relationship with God and always seeking what God wants of him at any given moment. As I noted in the last post, Ignatius spoke of himself as a pilgrim, always on the move until we finish our journey on earth and meet God face to face.
Ignatius intended that the daily prayer of the Examen would help to keep us fresh and active on our journey and be a way of extending the Spiritual Exercises into daily life. Next week I will begin looking directly at the Ignatian Examen and its five steps.
~Father Michael Schleupner
Some of the above thoughts developed from A Simple Life-Changing Prayer and from What Do You Really Want? by Jim Manney.
Fathers in Our Lives
We give our thanks, Creator God, for the fathers in our lives.
Fatherhood does not come with a manual, and reality teaches us that some fathers excel while others fail.
We ask for Your blessings for them all and forgiveness where it is needed.
This Father’s Day we remember the many sacrifices fathers make for their children and families, and the ways–both big and small–they lift children to achieve dreams thought beyond reach.
So too, we remember all those who have helped fill the void when fathers pass early or are absent; grandfathers and uncles, brothers and cousins, teachers, pastors and coaches and the women of our families.
~ Rev. Chuck Currie