There is no denying that St. Ignatius has had a big influence on the Church. But I don’t think that is why people are drawn to him and his spiritual exercises. I believe it is because he speaks the truth about the spiritual and everyday life fitting together. We don’t live out our spiritual life during our prayer time or when we are at Mass and then leave it all behind. When we do that, we are not being authentic Christians.
Ignatius time and again reminds us that our faith is lived and that God is with us in that lived faith. How we are living and how we are feeling about our life is a visible sign of our spiritual life in many ways. We all have been tired from too much work or endless tasks that drain our physical or mental energy. So, we rest, and we can get up and do it again. At times, though, the rest doesn’t seem to help. We begin to feel like life is drudgery, meaningless, unfulfilling. No amount of rest or sleep revives us. Those are the times when I wish I could blink and move to some new place where life would be alive and fulfilling again.
Instead, I am reminded by Ignatius’ words that the trouble is I am not living the life God calls me to. I’m living how I think or the world or well-meaning family or friends think is best. I might be ignoring the still, small voice saying, “look here is the answer.” Or worse, I convince myself God is not with me, guiding and sustaining me.
The beginnings of the spiritual exercises that Ignatius gave us come from him realizing what spoke to him deeply and what flitted by in a moment of happiness. Yes, the stories of chivalry were fun and enjoyable, but they left no lasting impression. On the other hand, the saints left an impression, made Ignatius think, and led him to understand that serving God was the path to truly being alive.
Alive and Not Lukewarm
And that, my friends, is our call as well. If you find yourself overcome with tiredness, listless and just going through the motions of life it may be time to look at what you are doing every day. What in your life makes you feel alive? If you’ve lost the answer, ask God. And then, as best as possible, do what makes you feel most alive.
To think about
What makes you feel most alive? If you’ve lost it, how can you get it back?
This post is part of a month-long celebration of all things St. Ignatius leading up to his feast day on July 31. For more about this celebration, click on the image below.