Grace: A deep desire to know the will of God for my life and the freedom to be able to do it.
Text for prayer: Ps 139
Reflection: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola is a great treasure for the Church and its riches have been drawn upon for five centuries now. Through the course of St. Ignatius’ conversion, he kept notes about how it was that the Lord was leading him closer to Himself. Over the years, he steadily gave shape to these note and created a kind of program of prayer for others to follow which would open themselves up to the grace of conversion and greater ability to discern the will of God for their lives as well as the interior freedom required to then respond to that Divine Will in great generosity.
St. Ignatius noticed the attachments he had to overcome in himself in order to discover the freedom necessary to enter into a more perfect union with God. This overcoming of disordered attachments is a key component of the Exercises. In the course of this retreat then, we come to know the mercy and love of God only by first encountering the nature of our own blocks that we set up within that relationship by our own sinfulness and attachments to old wounds and forms of slavery in our lives. We come to know God and we come to know ourselves more and more, then, by coming to know Jesus- the One at the center of this experience of prayer and conversion.
In the course of this encounter, it is also possible to come to greater clarity about a major decision we might have to make about our “state of life”. The Exercises have been a great gift for the Church in this regard, also, in terms of being able to learn how to “discern” the will of God for our own lives, that is, how we might best make a gift back to the Lord of our own life in response to all of his generosity to us.
Questions: What is currently blocking me from greater love for God? What blocks me from receiving God’s love for me? What do I most deeply desire in my life at this point? What does the Lord desire to give me at this time?