LEAN ON GRACE
From his lived experience, St. Ignatius of Loyola recommends that we begin a spiritual journey by leaning on grace.
As Veritas nears, take some time to:
- Get in touch again with a key experience of grace or connection with God lately. Perhaps my dialogue with God below may be a good trigger.
- Let yourself rest in God or settle in God's tenderness with the "Peace of God" video below.
Godspeed & God's peace,
Tri sj & the Veritas 2016 Team
A CONVERSATION WITH GOD (MY DELIGHT)
God: I'll see you every morning [for prayer], right? I look forward to simply be-ing with you.
Me: I'd like that. But you know how unfaithful I have been and can be.
God: I know. I'll help you.
Me: Yes, thank you! What if ... I don't show up?
God: I'll be there, waiting, always ...
God: Yes. Simply being with you in my delight!
Me: Thank you, LoooOooove.
p.s. (from God): If you show up elsewhere, I'll be there too, MY DELIGHT!
VULNERABILITY AS THE DOORWAY TO DEEPER LOVE & FORGIVENESS
Use Ignatian Contemplation to imaginatively enter Lk 7:36-50. Try either the recorded guided contemplation or the prompts below.
Click here for a great interview of Brené Brown "On the Courage to Be Vulnerable."
Afterwards, spend 7-10’ to reflect and write in your journal responses to the following questions:
- What resonates or challenges you about Brené Brown's talk or in your prayer? What might God want to show you?
- How vulnerable have you been to God in the past week or two? To what extent do you allow God to see you as you are?
- How have you felt spiritual consolation (drawn towards God) or desolation (drawn away from God) in the past week? Is there a pattern to these movements?
“A Pharisee invited him to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages* and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?” Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.” He said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love.* But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.” He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Lk 7:36-50
Grace to ask:
Ask for the grace desired (such as greater openness to tenderness, vulnerability, or forgiveness)
Key Points to Imagine and Consider:
- Jesus breaks social convention, allowing the sinful woman to touch him and show such intimate and public expressions of love. Notice his willingness to receive despite everyone's "should'ings" ... observe his compassion and kindness to the woman ...
- Notice how Jesus regards Simon and others in their self-righteousness. How does he engage them?
ARE YOU WILLING TO LOOK AT HOW DEEPLY THE INCEPTION OF GOD'S LOVE HAS TAKEN ROOT IN YOUR LIFE?
Use Ignatian Contemplation to imaginatively enter Jesus' Baptism. Try either the recorded guided meditation or the prayer prompts below.
Afterwards, spend 5-7’ journaling to reflect on how things have gone in your prayer:
- What feelings or insights were more noticeable in my prayer?
- Could I enter the delight of God or Jesus, or my own sense of being called “beloved”? How or how not so?
- Have I felt spiritual consolation (drawn towards God) or desolation (drawn away from God) since my prayer time?
“It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” - Mk 1:9-11
Place yourself in God’s presence by quieting or centering yourself through breathing. Ask for the grace desired (such as a felt experience of God’s love, resting in God, hearing the unique name God has for you, peace, etc…
Let the details of the passage stir your imagination. Put yourself into the story: see the people, hear the dialogue and engage in the actions (what do you see, hear, touch, smell?). Let the story come alive as if you are there, experiencing what is happening. Stay with a point until you are satisfied and ready to move to the next.
You might imagine being in a line of 50 people going down to the river Jordan to be baptized. You are directly behind Jesus. Notice what he looks like, how he looks at you and others, how he relates to you. Imagine you hearing what he hears: God calling him “Beloved” in such a intimate and tender way that only God can. Imagine hearing something similar when you come out of the water after being baptized (submerged in water): God calling you by a unique name in such a intimate and tender way that only God can. Imagine too, that Jesus, who has gone before you looking at you deeply and calls you by the same unique name, with intimacy and tenderness that only God can.
REFLECTION QUESTIONS on INCEPTION
1. Does your experience of watching the movie trigger any insight about yourself or your relationship with God?
2. What does “coming home” mean for you? What risks does that involve?
“Do you want to go home? Do you want to take a leap of faith, or become an old man, filled with regret…?” This question in the beginning of the movie fuels its plot. Dom Cobb, the main character played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is a fugitive from the US where his children live. He takes up the challenge of a lifetime to come home to them. His first name, Dom, literally means “home” in Latin (as in domestic). At the end, a Customs Agent says to him, “Welcome home.” The movie can be seen as a going home: Where are you going? With whom are you at home … and coming home to?
3. What gets in the way of your journey closer to God and your deeper self?
It turns out that the success of the mission undertaken by Cobb’s team involves going deeper into his own unconscious negative emotions (fear, guilt, anger, etc.). Without realizing the full extent of what he says, Dom remarks: “Downward is the only way forward.” As his team enters the psyche of their subject more deeply, and Cobb going deeper into the truth of his life, they encounter greater projections. These projections can be understood as defense mechanisms constructed by one’s ego to avoid the pain of confronting certain truths about oneself. Likewise, in our own journeys toward God & truth, we face our own projections or inner resistances. Since your own Caritas experience, what projections or inner resistances do you find keep getting in the way as you grow spiritually?
4. Who or what helps you on your journey deeper/home?
As Cobb journeys down to his psychic basement, so to speak, Mal gets more malevolent. She represents his worse projections, the ghosts of his self. However, Ariadne (the architect played by Ellen Page) reassures him: “If we’re going to succeed, you’ll have to forgive yourself, you’ll have to confront her, but you will not have to do it yourself.” She is willing to go down deeper levels with Dom, to help him face his projections and “let go” in order to complete the mission. (Interestingly, Ariadne is named after the woman in Greek mythology who helped guide Theseus through the labyrinth and defeat the Minotaur.) Likewise, our spiritual growth involves allowing another to see deeper into ourselves, in ways that can trigger great resistances from our frightened projections. As we allow ourselves to be more fully seen, greater growth can occur. Since your Caritas experience, who or what has helped you consistently grow or journey deeper within?