Friday, May 25, 2007

Ignatian Station

I am very privileged to attend an extremely interesting Young Adult Bible Study on Tuesday evenings (mostly privileged that they allow me to pretend I am at once young, and an adult). It is both a scholarly and contemplative group, mainly due to the fact that our leader is one of those wacky Franciscans from Steubenville.

This week we shook things up, foregoing our chosen form of prayerful study (lectio divina), to have a guest speaker instruct us in the ways of Ignatian Spirituality (yes, we're a rowdy bunch). This was of extreme interest to me, as discerning my vocation is one thing, but then to choose an order, will be whole new bag of Fritos.

Kathleen, our speaker, shared the history of St. Ignatus, discussed what distinguished Jesuits from other orders, and instructed us in both the Examen and the Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises were particularly fascinating to me, as they require the mixture of the Gospels with the imagination (and asking me to use my imagination is somewhat like asking me to breathe). You are not only to read the passage, but to enter into the story and become part of it.

So at Adoration this week, I tried the Exercise on my own, using the day's reading as my Gospel selection. Being that it was John 17, and is part of Jesus' "great prayer", I assumed it would be difficult to imagine myself in a prayer setting, and almost chose a different reading. I read our Lord's petition for his disciples, and started my first part of the exercise.

Because of the day's earlier excitement, and assuming that Jesus was alone, I pictured myself as a young fawn who wanders into the part of the forest where Christ is in prayer. I found the Good Shepherd gently petting my head as He lifted up prayers to His Father. My deer self (no pun intended), then curled up in my Savior's lap, while listening to the words "keep them from the Evil One".

I soon realized that He would not have been alone, and saw myself in a circle of men, knelt down humbly before their King. His hands lifted up, as to reveal His words to not only be a prayer, but a blessing, as He consecrated the Apostles (consecrated in Truth).

I asked Him if this was meant for me, or just those called. If I am to be one of His consecrated servants, or serve in another way.

"You are mine" was all I heard, and this will have me a pondering for days to come. Mainly, I gathered that it's meaning was "relax", either way "You are Mine"

and in the case any of you have forgotten, you too, are indeed His!,
and oh, how He so loves you!

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