Getting Started

The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola are best suited for prayer during a silent retreat. However,  Ignatius knew that they could also be effective when employed in a less isolated environment. It is the hope of the authors of this blog that you, the reader, find the meditations that we offer here useful in your own search to encounter Christ in prayer in your daily life. The meditations are intended to be prayed in order, from as close to the beginning as possible, perhaps over the course of a dedicated time such as the season of Lent. (more…)

March 6th, 2014

March 6, 2014 |

Grace: To have light so that I may know the origin of all created things and the reason God has given them to me – and for the grace that I might use them accordingly

Text for Prayer: Genesis 1:26-31

Reflection: “Life is too short! Have fun while you can!” That is the advice of a pagan world where gluttony masquerades as joy and indulgence passes for hope. But even in this foggy world of pitiful approximations, we can see in our natures a yearning for something else and a recognition that we are meant for something eternal. Life is indeed short when compared to the timeless time without end that we are destined for. And our hearts yearn for that stable rock that we rest upon when we rest in God. We are truly pilgrims at heart, every one of us, until we rest in God. The things of this world cannot satisfy our hearts – worthy as they are as faint likenesses of God’s infinite beauty, steps of the ladder which unites earth with heaven and by which we climb to God’s throne.

All things are a means to know God (Rom 1:20). Their goodness testifies to the goodness of the One who created them.  They are a means to love Him more. To love God’s creation isn’t sinful; it is sinful only to love them apart from God, stopping before our hearts can be turned toward the Creator. And we must understand the use of things as a means to develop our activities as individuals, as members of a family and of a society. Created things can be part of how we love one another, providing for those who are in need. And finally, created things play their part in the development of our own virtues, practicing stewardship, patience, and self-denial.

(more…)

March 6th, 2014 | |

February 14, 2013 |

Grace: To know all that God has given me in His creation, that it might bring me closer to Him.

Text for Prayer: Psalm 104

Reflection: Living in Denver, I am intimately familiar with the grandeur of God’s creation. I almost daily stand in silent amazement as I watch the hand of God painting a sunrise or sunset that is as breath-taking as it is short-lived. Only a God of infinite beauty could fill the sky with his wonder, only to have it disappear into pure blue a few moments later.

Being filled with awe and wonder at the beauty of creation is perhaps a great balm for the modern soul, which is so often distracted and enslaved to duty or obliged to carry out the monotonous, making only things that are ugly or necessary.  However, in contemplating natural things, the soul is free to see that which is not constructed by the limitations of man, and this contemplation can then lead us to reflect upon ourselves as creatures, too. When we do, we might come to consider how it is that God has given to us all of his beauteous creation, and why. (more…)

February 14th, 2013 | |

February 23, 2012 |

Grace: To love and serve God with an undivided heart, and to value all created things inasmuch as they lead me to God.

Text for Prayer: Romans 1:20

Reflection: God does not do anything by accident; “coincidence” is not in His vocabulary.

“Yet just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, giving seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but shall do what pleases me, achieving the end for which I sent it.” (Is. 55:10)

Each one of us and all created things, living and non-living, have been purposefully formed according to God’s plan.

St. Ignatius is calling each one of us to praise, reverence and serve God our Lord not solely in a vertical experience of personal prayer but in the midst of our world and in the presence of all of creation.  The people we interact with on a daily basis, the buildings and streets we pass, the conversations and topics we engage in, and even the technology we constantly use are all avenues to become aware of the Trinity closely accompanying us.  This felt-awareness permits us to respond with generosity, modeled in particular ways of praising, reverencing and serving the Trinity. (more…)

February 23rd, 2012 | |

March 10, 2011 |

Grace: That I might see God as the beginning and end of all created things and that I might use and love all things in the Lord.

Text for Prayer: Psalm 19: 1-6

Reflection: A great art critic can look at a painting or sculpture, or hear a musical composition, and tell you that it’s Van Gogh, or Michelangelo, or Mozart. He can do this only because he has learned, over time, to notice the distinctive marks, the telltale traces of the creator that permeate the work.

Creation works the same way. From the earliest days, Christianity has maintained that we can know God through His creation. Paul proclaimed to the Romans, “Ever since the creation of the world, God’s eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things He has made.”  Creation then is a powerful revelation, disclosing to us, in partial form, the mind of the maker.

(more…)

March 10th, 2011 | |

February 18, 2010 |

Grace: light so that I may know the origin of all created things and the reason God has given them to me – and for the grace that I might use them accordingly

Text for Prayer: Genesis 1:26-31

Reflection: “Life is too short! Have fun while you can!” That is the advice of a pagan world where gluttony masquerades as joy and indulgence passes for hope. But even in this foggy world of pitiful approximations, we can see in our natures a yearning for something else and a recognition that we are meant for something eternal. Life is indeed short when compared to the timeless time without end that we are destined for. And our hearts yearn for that stable rock that we rest upon when we rest in God. We are truly pilgrims at heart, every one of us, until we rest in God. The things of this world cannot satisfy our hearts – worthy as they are as faint likenesses of God’s infinite beauty, steps of the ladder which unites earth with heaven and by which we climb to God’s throne.

All things are a means to know God (Rom 1:20). Their goodness testifies to the goodness of the One who created them.  They are a means to love Him more. To love God’s creation isn’t sinful; it is sinful only to love them independent of God, stopping before our hearts can be turned toward the Creator. And we must understand the use of things as a means to develop our activities as individuals, as members of a family and of a society. Created things can be part of how we love one another, providing for those who are in need. And finally, created things play their part in the development of our own virtues, practicing stewardship, patience, and self-denial.

So we must be on our guard to make good use of what God has given us, careful never to use these gifts contrary to their (and our) Creator’s will for us. Sin is the corruption of what is good and we must avoid using God’s creation simply with pleasure in mind or to hide from what is hard or painful. We belong to our belongings, so to speak; to misuse them is to misuse ourselves.

These created things are our servants. They are given to us that we may direct them and ourselves to the Lord Our God. We are charged with being the eyes for those who cannot see this. We must be the heart for those that cannot worship and love. We are all priests of creation, set apart to offer to God the prayer and incense of the crooked world we live in.  The whole earth is a temple and our hearts are an inner shrine.  In the end, we must find ourselves watchful. We must become aware of what we make use of and how we make use of it. And the standard by which we judge it can be no other than that standard given by the Creator Himself.  We were made to praise, reverence, and serve God. All created things must be ordered to this end and we should prefer nothing except insofar as it helps us praise, reverence, and serve as we were created to do.

Pray: O God, help me understand that everything comes from Your hands and is ruled by Your scepter. Let me keep that scepter in my sight as I partake of what You have offered me, desiring to make use of these things only when they come to my aid in praising, reverencing, and serving You. I depend on Your grace for the knowledge of what I may make use of and what I must avoid. Please give me the grace to avoid my own selfish desires so that I may act only out of love for You and service to Your people.

February 18th, 2010 | |