Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, is famously known for wanting to find God in all things. Is that even possible? you might ask. He believed it was, but only as a gift from God and only as the fruit of our paying attention to our experience. Ignatius developed an optimistic spiritual practice that assumed the presence of God at every moment of our existence. While we tend to think of God’s presence as a “sometimes thing,” Ignatius came to believe that our perception of God’s presence as a sometimes occurrence is a major spiritual hindrance. Ignatius believed that God is always creating this universe, always keeping it in existence always working to bring about God’s purpose in creation, and always trying to move us to join God in the great adventure of bringing out what Jesus called the kingdom of God. —(partial introduction from The Prayer Book 2018, Sacred Space).
Growing in my depth of prayer and contemplation has made a positive impact on my level of anxiety. With guidance from the Ignatius way, I’ve come to a transformation of the heart because of my daily practice and intentionality of regularly being present with Jesus. It has been a way that I quietly focus, read scripture, and be aware of my union with Christ. As I reflect, meditate, pray, sing, devote, I am being equipped to do. I’m filled with Holy Spirit, mindful of Christ’s power within me. A rich, calming reminder that I am not alone. This practice has brought about a renewing way of thinking and being within and beyond. Is this happening perfectly? Of course not. As I continue to seek Him, in a deliberate, contemplative manner, I know I am prepared as equally as I know He will meet me and refresh me again, and again, and again, and again. . .
Come to me you who are weary and I will give you rest. Jesus said something like that, yes?
I am a proponent of being present, being aware, being mindful in the presence and strength of Christ. This helps me stay attuned with my senses, gifted and created from God, as my guide. Paying attention has helped my anxiousness.
Below is another excerpt from The Prayer Book 2018, Sacred Space, (p. 235). It is taken from a book entitled, Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses. The author is Ginny Kubitz Moyer. Perhaps you could look at this piece as an invitation to experience sense(s) in a way of settling into a prayerful, quiet presence of devotion and time with Christ.
Take a few slow breaths. Center yourself and open up to feel God’s presence. Ask for God’s grace as you enter this time of prayerful reflection.
For music. For composers, instrumentalists, singers, those who help record and distribute the music you love. For the people who introduced you to the songs and melodies you love.
Think of the most beautiful songs and musical pieces you know. It might help to write a list. Choose one. When did you hear it for the first time? What memories or associations does it bring up for you? Think of a time when music made you feel that something good was waiting for you or lifted you beyond the present. Do you feel that way about life as a general rule, or do you tend to think that ‘the best is behind’? If so, allow God to challenge that notion.
Seek out a piece of music that has always made you feel hopeful. Listen to it again, letting yourself be open to its implicit promise. …, go throughout the day trusting that good things await you.
~ Shalom from Lisa