Last night we continued our journey through the themes of Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. You will remember the Exercises help us grow in union with Christ. They place us in a position to be formed in Christlikeness, so that we may live more fully in God’s will for the sake of the world.
Friends, last night was one of the more meaningful practices for me in a long time. I came into the night feeling frazzled. Then during our gratitude practice, I was reminded of God’s loving and patient presence in all things, and I was struck—there really is no other word for it—I was struck by the incomprehensible nature of God’s love for me.
I came into the night feeling disconnected and left with a full heart and a profound sense of God’s enormous love. Joan said opening ourselves in gratitude allows us to more fully receive God’s love. That statement could not have been more true of my experience last night.
One of things I appreciate most about her teaching is that Joan always turns gratitude back to God. Many treat gratitude like a strategy to be happy, but if we do not recognize and respond to the giver of all good gifts, our gratitude will not form us in Christlikeness. Joan shared too many wonderful things for me to express here, so have a listen to the podcast.
For our time in the first movement of the Spiritual Exercises, we want to continue praying the “be-loved” breath prayer at least fifteen minutes each day. I hope your practice of this discipline has helped you rest more fully in the truth that you are God’s beloved child.
For the next two weeks, we also want to include the gratitude practice Joan led us in last night. At least once a week between today and our next gathering, will you make time to engage this practice? Spend some time opening yourself to God in gratitude using these three questions.
Where did you notice and experience God today/this week? In His creation, His word, in His people?
As you review your week and each noticing of God, what specific characteristic(s) of God did He reveal to you?
Write a prayer of gratitude to God.