I am beginning a new undertaking and today is the first day.
I have just returned from the opening retreat for the 30 week "Retreat in Daily Life" and I am excited to say the least.
There were about a dozen of us in the opening circle who gathered with our Spiritual Directors. We heard the story of St. Ignatius. This was not new to me but I heard different things this time. And it is helpful in understanding the "Ignatian Exercises."
Janice Bachman read to us some of "St. Ignatius Own Story" by Williams Young. We learned about a man who was "given over to the vanities of the world" who had a "great and vain desire of winning glory." He lived over 500 years ago, but his story is my story too.
It is the story of transformation that began in the tragedy of a wartime injury that ended in his life that gave glory to God. As I listened today, I heard all kinds of ways in which God was actively guiding Ignatius. Afterward, we were asked "where is God in this experience?" I found the word "Waiting"come up in my. God was waiting - always waiting.
And that is how God works. God was always present with Ignatius as God is always present with me and waiting for us to notice. Ignatius in his recovery started to notice. He noticed the times he was happy and the times he was not. Or to say it more completely - he notices what gave him consolation and what led him into desolation. He reflected on his life and paid attention to his dreams. And of course, his noticing came because he could not do the things he wanted to do to "win glory." Instead of a life of activity, his notcing, reflecting and attention guided him to what he would otherwise have missed - God's subtle healing, movement and guidance.
So I begin a discipline tomorrow of an hour a day with God and will spend time noticing, reflecting and paying attention. There is in me a longing for going deeper with God and I welcome this structure.
I heard two quotes today that really spoke to me:
"Our yearning for God is but a mere reflection of God's yearning for us."
"Go with expectancy, but not expectations"
And so, I go with expectancy trusting that God has been waiting for me. The past 9 months of my retirement has been filled with lots of activity. Some of it ministry - preaching a little, doing a wedding, a funeral, a retreat, some spiritual direction. Some of it with family - being available to children and grandchildren and having Brian move in with us. Some of it with friends and traveling.
What I wonder is whether this will continue or whether "something new" may be being birthed in me. I wonder. I welcome this time and this opportunity for spiritual growth. And I wonder. And something in me says - trust, relax, let go and have fun with all of this.
The retreat started with a prayer song by Meister Eckhart which goes like this:
In the core of the Trinity, the Father laughs;
the Father laughs and gives birth to the Son.
In the core of the Trinity, the Son laughs
the Son laughs back and gives birth to the Spirit.
In the core of the Trinity, They all laugh;
They all laugh and give birth to us!
May I experience JOY during these 30 weeks!