Tag Archives: Margaret Silf

Hopefulness, the Ignatian Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, May 31, 2015

hope hope hope

Hopefulness, the Ignatian Way

I like Ignatian prayer and spirituality. I really, really do.

I find Ignatian prayer and meditation come naturally to me. I feel it deeply. In fact, sometimes I just can’t pray in this particular fashion, so I need to choose another, less feeling- and emotion-oriented way

This time of prayer is special to all who follow St. Ignatius of Loyola, in particular those who experience the parts of the Daily Examen. We turn in the book Inner Compass to the author’s understanding of the daily manner of prayer.

We have gotten to the last step of this progress, called Hopefulness. “Look forward to tomorrow. Ask [God] to open your eye to whatever surprises it may bring; to open your eyes to notice Him in unexpected places. . . . Whatever inadequacies you find in your day’s living, let them be there before God now, not for judgment.” [1]

What I gather from this paragraph is to be positive. Yes, we do need to think about whatever is going on in each one’s lives. Positive or negative, simple or complex. I am used to living and considering one day at a time—today. This is a beneficial way of going about “life,” for me.

However, this Hopefulness step also urges me to consider tomorrow—with hope. I especially appreciate Margaret Silf’s words, telling me to open my eyes, to notice God in unexpected places. I earnestly pray that I can be this hopeful in prayer.

We end this season of Ignatian prayer and spirituality with today’s post. I also ask that each one who is taking this way of praying to heart find encouragement and support. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayers. Hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.

 

Meditation and Reflection, the Ignatian Way

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 29, 2015

Trinity - Celtic

Meditation and Reflection, the Ignatian Way

Tonight we look at the next step in a different way of praying, using Ignatian prayer and meditation. I’m using Inner Compass, the book by Margaret Silf. As she says, this meditation and prayer time can be done each night, and can draw the happenings of the day together.

The fourth step in this examination is Reflection. “Reflect peacefully on what has been happening to you and in you today, trusting that your prayer for the light of His Spirit has been granted. Let God show you whatever He may want to show you.” [1]

Silf gives many questions, bullet points of reflection and meditation. Asking things like “How were you drawn to God today?” “Did you bring Christ to those around you?” “Did you come across someone who was lonely, sad, discouraged or in need?” “Did you feel the absence of God in any part of your day?”

These, and many more, are useful prayer points. Points to ponder, and discuss with God.

Certainly, these and many more are points we all need to consider. May God give us discernment, staying power, and openness of heart and mind as we consider. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 28, 2015

Light be a light to the world

Seeking the Light—in Ignatian Prayer

I was a bit puzzled by the third step in the daily Ignatian prayer process, as interpreted by Margaret Silf. I know it’s a small thing, but I did not quite get what she meant. Or rather, one particular word she used.

Here’s the step, as found in Silf’s book on Ignatian spirituality and prayer, Inner Compass: Light-seeking: “Ask God to help you see and understand how His love has been working within you today. This is a gift of the Spirit, and it has been promised to all who sincerely seek it.”

I consider myself theologically knowledgeable, in basic terms. But here—Silf’s use of “light-seeking” interchangeably with “God’s love?” Perhaps I am overthinking what she’s doing here. I probably am.

What I sometimes do with concepts I have difficulty understanding is this: I break it down. I take it apart, in pieces. It’s then that I come to some understanding of the separate pieces. Yes, I have some idea of what constitutes “God’s love.” And, I am so moved by Silf’s imagery of “Light-seeking.” Thought-provoking mental image!

I’ve come to a comfort level of not-knowing. Or, at least not knowing in full. If I can’t square the phrase “God’s love” with “Light-seeking,” it’s okay. God will still love me just as much if I don’t understand some things about God. No one has a full understanding, anyhow. I suspect that I am in a better (read, more open-minded) position, now that I realize I just don’t know stuff.

And, that’s okay. God understands. God still gifts me with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, no matter how much or how little theological background I may have. I just need to be honest, open and willing. Willing to be open, with an open mind and heart. Amen. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

A Thankfulness List

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 27, 2015

thank You Lord

A Thankfulness List

I am sad that May is drawing to a close. With the end of May comes the end of our reflections on Ignatian spirituality. The book Inner Compass is such a rich source of material for these posts! As Margaret Silf says, this meditation and prayer time can be done each night, and can draw the happenings of the day together.

The second step is Thankfulness. “Remember with thanksgiving the gifts of God to you today. . . . Be still in the memory, and offer God your thanks in your own way.” [1] Silf mentions such varied things as a meeting with a friend, a friendly shop assistant, a job done or a problem solved, a warm memory or a falling leaf. These various gifts, and so many more.

I am thinking of my “new best friend,” Joani. She and I hung out (as my teenage son would say), and then went for a fantastic dinner tonight. I am so grateful for her, and her friendship. Truly, Joani is a gift from God.

It’s true. I so seldom can see clearly when I am in the middle of things. And, boy, I do feel like I am wandering in a dark wood, more often than not. Or, is it a dark and foggy place, where I only can see a step or two ahead of me, even though I am holding a lantern to illuminate my way?

God helps me to keep my harried life together. (Usually.) I find that thankfulness is closely related to gratitude. A thankfulness list is similar to a gratitude list. Even when I can only see a little way in front of me, chances are that I also see things in my life for which I am thankful. Grateful. And, that can only help me in meditation and prayer.

Dear Lord, as I consider being thankful (or, grateful), help me to count each and every blessing You send my way. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.

(By the way, check out Joani’s blog at http://unorthodoxunhinged.com/ – it’s all good.)

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.

A Prayerful Reflection

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, May 25, 2015

PRAY don't worry, through prayer to God Phil 4-6

A Prayerful Reflection

There are different ways of praying, using Ignatian prayer and meditation. Last week, we took a look at one version. This week, we’re looking at another. I’m returning to Inner Compass, the book by Margaret Silf that has been sometimes helpful to me during the past few years.

As Silf says, this meditation and prayer time can be done each night, and can draw the happenings of the day together. Helping the person doing the praying to observe what God is doing through and in that person’s life.

The first step is Stillness. “Relax, be still; let the tensions of the day slip away from you. Know that you are in God’s presence. He rejoices that you have come to Him, however, forgetful you may have been of Him during the day.” [1]

This first step is helpful, and can be cleansing of anxiety, frustration, rage, and depression. Deep breathing often is helpful in this process, too. Any other way or manner of meditation and mindfulness is beneficial, as well.

God’s leading and God’s kind words and actions act as a reassuring support for those in prayer. God willing, I can start now.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.

More About Feelings, in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 23, 2015

God cleans the inside

More About Feelings, in Ignatian Prayer

I am a touchy-feely kind of person. Always have been, always will be. It’s the way God created me to be. I can appreciate people for whom intellect is all important. Gee, sometimes I get all up in my head and be all intellectual about something, too. But my primary focus is all about feelings. Pastoral care. Sympathy and empathy. I suppose that’s one reason Ignatian prayer and meditation appeals to me so much.

We’re continuing with Margaret Silf’s book Inner Compass; so much in that book to assist us in our journey with God! Again, the steps of Silf’s process with feelings are similar to the steps of the Daily Examen we viewed earlier this week. This examination can be positive or negative, depending on the sort of feeling touched upon.

Silf gives a striking description of how my “inner furniture” can be disturbed—by others as well as by me. You know the “furniture” I mean. That “inner furniture” in my secret inner room, deep inside of me. Or, my feeling-place inside. St. Ignatius taught his friends how to track their feelings and moods, too. He showed them how to “discover the deeper movements in their hearts, learning to recognize the sold-ground mods as consolation and the moods of inner turmil as desolation.”[1]

Sadly, others may not realize where that “furniture” is located, or when they may crash into it, unknowingly. Another amazing (and again, sad) thing is that we may not be aware of this “inner furniture” until after we’ve crashed into it. That’s why I need to keep in regular contact with God. I need to regularly pray and reflect upon what is happening to me in my daily life. That’s on a daily basis—or, at least several times a week.

And the best part is: God will help me to make a regular practice of this “housecleaning.”

I’m afraid I do not take regular advantage of God’s kindness, God’s offer of assistance. At least, I am not consistent with my prayers for Daily Examen. (“Review of conscience,” as Silf calls it.) Dear God, help me to be more consistent, especially since You are ready and waiting for me, every evening, at the end of the day. Thank You for the opportunity. Please, help me, God. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 50.

Feeling My Feelings—In Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, May 22, 2015

God - whenever you feel unloved or insecure - Eph 2

Feeling My Feelings—In Prayer

I return to the wonderful book Inner Compass for today. I wanted to take a look at what Margaret Silf had to say about the Daily Examen of St. Ignatius. I found some interesting features of her version of the prayer.

Silf’s point of view comes from her awareness of moods and feelings that “appear to change unpredictably and often uncontrollably.”[1] To her way of thinking, underlying patterns of these moods and feelings serve as pathways, and show us how to relate to God. And, how each of our individual journeys with God is going.

Again, the steps of Silf’s process are similar to the steps of the Daily Examen, except more oriented towards feelings and moods. This examination or review can be positive or negative, depending on the sort of feeling touched upon. See how ‘touchy’ feelings are:

“Someone stepped on one of my cherished dreams, perhaps, or offended my pride, or bumped into some ‘furniture’ in my secret inner room. If that happened, where exactly was the sore spot located, and does it remind me of other times when the same sore spot has been touched on?” [2]

This kind of negative feeling can cause all kinds of internal hurt for me. Plus, that internal discomfort and sensitivity can push me to negative outward behaviors like anxiety, distrust, resentment, or even hatred.

As I get in touch with my changing moods and feelings, my internal landscape can serve as a helpful point of reference for my spiritual well-being. All to the good.

Dear God, thank You for differing points of view on this excellent prayer template given to us by St. Ignatius. Help me to follow this prayer regularly.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 48.

[2] Ibid, 49.