Tag Archives: landscape

Life is Unfamiliar Terrain.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 2, 2015

journey - all you need

Life is Unfamiliar Terrain.

I can only take it for a little while. In small mouthfuls. I’m talking about my book for May, on Ignatian prayer and spirituality. Inner Compass, written by Margaret Silf (published by Loyola Press).

I read a few pages, and then something will stand out. So, I’ll think about that for a while. Maybe I won’t get back to the book, but then again, I just might.

I’m still in the section before the pages with Arabic numerals. After the foreword and preface, but still in the part where there are Roman numerals. As Margaret Silf drew near the close of a section called “Meet the Guide,” she made a statement that drew me up short: “ . . . life, for all of us, as we move into the future, is unfamiliar terrain.”[1]

I do not know exactly why this sentence arrested me. Or, caught me off guard. Perhaps it made me reflect on the temporary nature of life. Or, on the impermanence of my present and my possible future(s). Now that I have arrived at middle age (surprise!) and my hands are becoming wrinkly, I see how fragile my life is, how tenuous our connections are.

That might be why Silf’s subsequent discussion of landmarks was reassuring to me. She spoke of landmarks along our journey. Whether it is a spiritual journey, a journey through life, or some other trip, that was a helpful analogy to me. The concept of some feature on the virtual (or even actual) landscape assisted me in my being open and willing.

“Landmarks help us to locate ourselves and encourage us to keep walking.”[2] True enough. I can see how landmarks assist me along the spiritual journey of my heart—finding God in my daily existence and in the everyday. And, I remember from ten years ago, when I used the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, how vivid my occasional day’s prayers could be.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for this month of Ignatian prayer and meditation. Help me to be honest, open and willing in this endeavor. And especially, thank You for Margaret Silf and her encouraging words.


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[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), xxv-xxvi.

[2] Ibid, xxvi.