Tag Archives: St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius and God’s Guidance

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 4, 2017

St. Ignatius of Loyola, statue

St. Ignatius and God’s Guidance

When I saw the next name (and excerpt) in this anthology, I got excited. About eleven years ago, when I was heavily immersed in different forms of prayer and spiritual disciplines, I happened to pick up a copy of The Spiritual Exercises written by St. Ignatius of Loyola. I had several conversations about the process with my spiritual director at the time, and I went through the exercises that summer. The prayers, readings and contemplation were vivid experiences for me.

Ignatius of Loyola had quite a life. First as a courtier and soldier, then wounded, transformed by spiritual reading and prayer, renewed by a vision of God, he was revitalized as a soldier for Christ. He earned degrees and scholastic honors, and swore vows to Pope Paul III. His vision for spiritual formation, education and spreading the Word of God remains one of the most influential in history.

The excerpt here is from “Rules for the Discernment of Spirits.” The information is presented with great clarity and directness. (I did note several instances where women were slighted. I put that down to the prevailing societal norms of Ignatius’s day.)

I wanted to focus especially on two sections. First, where St. Ignatius defines spiritual distress: “this is the name I give to whatever in opposite to the foregoing—darkness of soul, disquiet of mind, an attraction to what is coarse and earthly, all restlessness proceeding from different temptation and disturbances;” [1] As he says, such distress does, indeed, destroy faith, hope and charity. I know—from experience—how damaging such spiritual distress can be to the interior life. And, not just the interior. Ignatius mentions the soul being “listless, apathetic, melancholy;” I know the outer self, the physical body can also find itself listless and apathetic. (This is one of the symptoms of clinical depression, too.) Ignatius amazes me with his perceptive observations concerning many different spiritual, psychological and physical manifestations. Amazing.

Second, in his several descriptions of the enemy of our human nature. One in particular struck me. As Ignatius describes the enemy as military commander “in his attempts to overcome and seize the object he has set his heart on…Similarly, the enemy of our human nature makes a tour of inspection of our virtues—theological, cardinal and moral. Where he finds us weakest and most defective in which pertains to our eternal salvation, he attacks at that point, seeking to overthrow us.” [2]

Ah! How true. How well said. Certainly, the enemy and his minions lay siege to my weakest sensibilities, prowling around the walls of the city of Mansoul, ready to set the siege ladders and infiltrate at my personal, private weak points. Brrr! Just reading his description sends chills down my spine.

Dear Lord, thank You for my re-acquaintance with Ignatius of Loyola. Help me continue to learn more, and follow Your ways and paths. In the mighty name of Jesus we pray, amen.



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

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er


[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 292.

[2] Ibid, 294.

A Prayer of St. Ignatius

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Call to Me - Jeremiah-33-3

A Prayer of St. Ignatius

I apologize up front. I cannot write a very long blog post today because I am having difficulty with my Internet connection at home.

I know. Why, you wonder, is that preventing me from writing a longer post? My husband and I have been having continuing problems with the Internet connection. Our whole neighborhood is in the process of getting “an upgrade.” I have been continuing to discuss the difficulty with our telephone utility’s customer service.

Why on earth that ought to mean that our Internet continues to go wonky, I have no idea. I have stopped trying to use logic when it comes to utilities.

Nevertheless, I would like to offer a beloved prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola, as long as we are considering the book Inner Compass this month. The book features Ignatian spirituality, meditation and prayer. I thought we would take a look at something from St. Ignatius, himself. May it aid us as we come before God. As you read, may this prayer be helpful in your spiritual journey.


by St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To You, Lord, I return it.

Everything is Yours; do with it what You will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace,
that is enough for me.

(As St. Ignatius prayed, so I attempt to pray. Amen. So be it, dear Lord.)


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 .

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.


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.

What Do I Mean, “Rummaging for God?”

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, May 21, 2015

prayer connects us

What Do I Mean, “Rummaging for God?”

We’ve looked at the Ignatian prayer mode called the Daily Examen for several days now. I am still thinking about it. Still examining it, as well as allowing it to examine me. I am amazed at the depth and breadth of this straight-forward manner of praying. St. Ignatius was brilliant for coming up with something as insightful as this.

I would like to turn to another helpful page from this helpful website I discovered. (This article is by Fr. Dennis Hamm, SJ, and was originally published in America, May 14, 1994.) Fr. Hamm uses a striking image—“rummaging for God.” But, I’ll let him speak for himself.

“And how do we go about this kind of listening? Long tradition has provided a helpful tool, which we call the “examination of consciousness” today. “Rummaging for God” is an expression that suggests going through a drawer full of stuff, feeling around, looking for something that you are sure must be in there somewhere. I think that image catches some of the feel of what is classically known in church language as the prayer of “examen.” [1]


Wow. And again, I’ll say “wow.” It doesn’t matter how often I think about this way of prayer, or in what ways I think of it, the Daily Examen turns me inside out. It drills down, goes deep beneath the surface, and excavates my insides. Not that it’s all bad! No! But sometimes, I can rummage around my mental drawers and forget what is in there. Or, misplace things. Sometimes, God may have me pull out something I wasn’t expecting, and examine that. A memory, or a past event, or some item I am suddenly remembering.

Yes, it can be painful. Or sad. Or bittersweet. Or just plain happy.

Dear God, thank You for the prayer of the Daily Examen. I appreciate it, even when it hurts. Or makes me sad, frustrated, or repentant. Thank You.


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] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/rummaging-for-god-praying-backward-through-your-day

What About Tomorrow? And Prayer?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 20, 2015

sun behind clouds over water

What About Tomorrow? And Prayer?

Today I am looking at the last section of a brief prayer form of St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen. This part of the examination is a bit different for me, especially since I have been trying to live by the credo “One Day at a Time.” For years.

I really have tried to live each day, in the “now.” I’ve been trying not to get lost wandering in yesterday, and not to get ahead of myself by immersing myself in tomorrow. That’s exactly what our Lord Jesus told us to do at the end of the sixth chapter of Matthew. Each day has concerns of its own; or, as the Revised Standard Version says in verse 34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.”

St. Ignatius has a little different view of what I ought to do, however. The last section of his Daily Examen tells me to look forward to tomorrow. Plan for the day. Here’s the quote from the Ignatian prayer website:

5. Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Pay attention to the feelings that surface as you survey what’s coming up. Are you doubtful? Cheerful? Apprehensive? Full of delighted anticipation? Allow these feelings to turn into prayer. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.” [1]

It’s always beneficial to ask for God’s guidance. No matter what. And, to pray? Develop my relationship with God further? That can only help me.

Thanks, God, for giving me a hand, and helping me out.


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] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray

Becoming Aware of God—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 16, 2015

constant in prayer

Becoming Aware of God—in Prayer

Today has been a busy day. A really, really busy day. I’ve been preparing for a special service at the church for the past week, and today was involved in final-final preparations. I enjoyed it! However, I haven’t had much time to even turn around, much less enjoy the beauty of an absolutely perfect May day. Gorgeous weather.

I suppose this is a perfect time for me to start with a brief prayer form of St. Ignatius, the Daily Examen. Taking inventory of the day just passed.

1. Become aware of God’s presence. Look back on the events of the day in the company of the Holy Spirit. The day may seem confusing to you—a blur, a jumble, a muddle. Ask God to bring clarity and understanding.” [1]

Yes, God was in my day today. Is that a surprise to me? Do I expect God to be there? Or, somehow, just out to lunch. Or, with the phone off the hook so I can’t get in touch.

I know, I know. If God seems far away, who moved? That old saying only goes so far. I know harboring fear, anxiety, resentment, and/or anger in my heart and mind is damaging to my spiritual health! Oh, yes. I know that, very well. But, I can’t be confused forever. I am encouraged to look and listen to the events, conversations, and personal actions of today.

That’s the marvelous-est thing. I can look at the past twenty-four hours at the end of each day. The Holy Spirit will help me take inventory, and this kind of action and conversation will become easier and easier. Dear Holy Spirit, thanks for helping me in prayer!


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

[1] http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/how-can-i-pray

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Virgin Mary praying mosaic

First Try at Ignatian Prayer (Using Inner Compass)

I’ve been hesitant to dip my toe into the imaginative style of prayer that St. Ignatius recommends in the Spiritual Exercises. This time, that is. Ordinarily, I find Ignatian prayer and meditation exciting, exhilarating, even intriguing. I appreciate using the abilities of my senses to assist in my prayer times.

But—there was something about the passage Margaret Silf chose for the first passage. The Annunciation, from the first chapter of Luke. That made me hesitate, for several days.

I finally pulled up my figurative-bootstraps and waded into the passage. That’s what it felt like, truly. At first.

I read it through, relatively slowly, three times. The first time, just to get a handle on what I was reading. The second time, to particularly notice things. Trying to imaging the setting, the house, the dusty road outside the door. Mary, a teenage girl, and her being frightened, startled. And the third time—the angel. I was arrested by the angel. The special effects in my mind must have been great, because I saw the angel as vaguely masculine but with a body of light. Corporeal, but filled with light. Or generating light from within. So awe-inspiring, and frightening.

I realized I was peeking into the main room from the adjacent room (a kitchen?). I saw the conversation between Mary and the angel, and I could sense Mary’s anxiety and fear. Yet, as the angel spoke of Mary’s cousin Elizabeth (which is my name, I think in retrospect), I feel a sudden kinship with Mary’s cousin. I don’t believe I ever have, before.

That’s all I got for today. That’s what the passage held for me. That’s a lot, too.

Let’s pray. Dear Mighty One, overshadowing all of Your children, You are loving and You see everything. You want each of us to say “I am the servant of the Lord,” don’t You? Help me to be willing to say that, on a regular basis. Thank You for the assistance Your Spirit gives to me, each day. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of us as we pray.


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 .