Reflections from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Guest Author: Please meet my colleague, Cheri Hill. Our journey to God is not meant to be solitary. Cheri Hill, a certified Spiritual Director grounded in Ignatian Spirituality, welcomes you to take time for soul care through regular spiritual direction. Cheri encourages a sacred pause, invites prayer, and stirs awareness so as to cultivate hope, healing, and interior freedom in the life of the directee. Spiritual direction sessions are held in person in the town of Plano, Illinois or on Zoom. Inquiries may email Cheri at: spiritualdirection.Hill@gmail.com
Cheri shares: “I have been reading and reflecting on some deep topics lately. Topics like, “How much is enough?” and “What holds me captive?” “What do I need freedom from and what do I need freedom for? “
Warning: These questions might poke around in your heart.
How much is enough? How much stuff is enough? How many possessions, acquisitions, or vacations or vehicles are enough? How much money or food is enough? (Although money itself is not evil, it certainly is a stumbling block for many when the desire for grasping for more and more is the goal.) Do I own my possessions, or do my possessions own me?
So now let’s think of it in a different light. Do the poor feel at home with me or in my home? Do I feel at home among the poor? Do I notice any rising feelings of superiority when with someone with less success, less status, less income, less ownership or less education? Do my possessions make others feel unimportant? Do they make me feel important? Ouch! If we are honest here, some of these may hit home.
St Ignatius says that riches are often the enemy’s alluring snare. He tempts us in cunning ways to covet riches which can make us feel honored or that we somehow deserve these things, and then eventually fill us with pride. Pride leads to so many other vices. The enemy seeks to enslave us and deceive us.
On the contrary, the way Christ leads us is through gentle inviting; he desires to liberate us from the bondage of the enemy. Christ’s path attracts us to depend more and more on himself and to detach from worldly things more and more. This poverty of spirit eventually brings forth humility. Humility is the bud that blooms into a whole garden of virtues (like self-control, patience etc.)
Ponder: Where am I being invited to a greater freedom in Christ? Is there something I cling too tightly to? What do I need to let go of?”
Oh Lord, we need you. Help us to turn away from earthly desires which keep us busy chasing after more and more. You, O Lord, are enough for me. Grow in me a spirit of gratitude for all I have as pure gift from you. All I am and all I have are yours. Please Lord, give me better awareness of what puffs me up and holds me back. Help me detach from worldly things and to grow in humility. Liberate me so that I may more freely step into the world with empathy and Your heart of compassion.
Learn more about the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises at: https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/
Reach Cheri at spiritualdirection.Hill@gmail.com