Monday, May 25, 2009

Ignatian Spirituality and Right Vision

At the beginning of his book, Fr. Fleming writes:

It's often said, "I'll believe it when I see it." but Ignatius Loyola reverses the saying: "When I believe it, I'll see it."

He begins with this quote because he asserts that "Ignatius thought that the right vision lies at the heart of our relationship with God." As religious who espouse the ideal of seeing God in all things, Jesuits and those involved in Ignatian Spirituality must necessarily believe that God can be found in all things if they are to see God in all things.

I think there is something to be said about "self-fulfilling prophecies." For example, if I sit at table and immediately judge that the next 30 minutes will be excruciating pain with the person I am sitting with, then that outcome is probably more likely to pan out. But, as people made in the image of God, I think we are called to see each other in the way that God sees us. Despite our sins and our failings, we continue to be loved unconditionally, no exceptions. I don't think we could ever love on the level that God loves, but we can certainly image that love of God towards one another.

Ignatian Spirituality is a calling into deeper and greater life, and Jesuits believe that greater life to be found in God. We seek to marvel at the work of God around us, in us. Where were those moments of great joy in our day? Where can God be a source of healing and reconciliation in our lives? We recognize the work of God as True gift in our lives--what were those moments in our day that were gifts to us? Do we believe God to be found in those gifts? Can we see God as a result of that faith?

A healthy spiritual life is a healthy way of seeing the world, of seeing one another, of seeing ourselves. Oftentimes, however, our way of seeing is very unhealthy. Distorted vision can lead to very unhealthy practices, leading to metaphorical and even literal death. Ignatian spirituality seeks to get us in the practice of seeing in a healthy way through the grace of God. Through prayer and the examen, we seek to instill habits that bring us life.

Let us pray for the grace of seeing the world in the way God sees, that our eyes can more readily recognize God's gifts throughout our life. And, let us pray that new ways of seeing may form us into the people that God desires us to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great quote, I had not heard that on from Ignatius. It's going up on the board today for inspiration this whole week.