Archive for the ‘Ignatian’ Category

Discernment – when unsure

November 20, 2017

Ignatius talks of three ‘times’ of discernment; the first refers to moments of great clarity; the second, to times of inner conflict between attraction to two or more good choices. The third ‘time’ that Ignatius refers to is when we don’t particularly feel drawn to one thing above another, in fact there seems to be little going on inside, and we can feel a bit lost in the decision we need to make.

Ignatius makes a number of suggestions to help move us from this state towards a decision.

The first help…advice

Consider a person you have never met before but who is trying to make this decision. What advice would you give to them? How might you talk with them about the decision.

Many of us are much better at advising others than at knowing what to do ourselves, so hearing the advice we would give can help us to move forward and follow our own advice!

 

Discernment – A reasonable consideration

November 15, 2017

pathI remember clearly as a child thinking that when people ‘found their
vocation’ it was because God had somehow sent them a clear message (like a voice speaking or a flash of light). Even when I began to realise that God didn’t always act in that way I still expected that God would really only speak to me in times of prayer.

Of course prayer is about communication with God – the communication of our desires and the interior listening to those of God – but sometimes a decision does not become so clear.

St Ignatius speaks of ‘times for making a good election’, and in the second time he reminds us that by giving careful consideration to the consolations and desolations connected with this choice we can often gain enough light to be able to a) make a choice, and b) await its confirmation.

The second, when enough light and knowledge is received by experience of consolations and desolations, and by the experience of the discernment of various spirits. (SpEx)

 

Times of Discernment – Clarity

November 11, 2017

clear pathThere are moments in our lives when we are faced with a choice and we simply KNOW what we must do. There is a great clarity about what God is asking and we are freely able to respond because regardless of the consequences our path is clear.

St Paul’s conversion is a good biblical example – in a moment of clarity he was able to understand completely that God was calling him to change direction, and he responded. Perhaps you know more ordinary examples – people who experience ‘love at first sight’ marrying and remaining faithful throughout the whole of their lives to a single moment of clarity; people who have always had a certainty about a particular vocational choice, where even in spite of opposition or discouragement they have ‘known’ it was the right choice.

Some people may say that at these times discernment isn’t necessary – simply a decision. It may be more true to say that the discernment has already taken place in opening us up to God’s grace and enabling us to have the courage to respond freely and wholeheartedly.

The grace to trust and respond to God’s clear prompting comes through the daily opening up of our lives and the growth in trust that God is with me.

Challenge:

What have been the moments of clarity in my own life?

How can I grow in my ability to trust these moments and to act on them with confidence?

Discernment and Decision making – two good choices

November 8, 2017

DiscernmentHave you ever felt paralysed by a decision? Have you ever felt so aware of more than one really good possibility that it seems impossible to choose?

Although Ignatian discernment is so much more than simply a way to make decisions, the principles or guidelines inherent in an Ignatian understanding of discernment help us to understand the motivation behind our decisions and so to choose wisely.

In a few blog posts I am going to address some aspects of discernment in the Ignatian tradition and look at some of the ways in which we can cooperate or resist the action of God in our decisions.

Two Good Things

It seems obvious. St Ignatius reminds us that discernment only takes place between two or more GOOD things. We do not discern between something good and something bad. In fact our conscience should be alert enough to prompt us not to make a choice towards something which may lead us away from God.

This seems obvious, but in my experience it is often more subtle that in might at first seem. It presupposes an alert and attentive listening to our conscience. 

So the first step in discernment is that of waking our conscience… being aware of the ways we avoid issues, fail to be informed of the consequences of our choices, accept the status quo or even maybe take on attitudes and stances of the society in which we live without ever really questioning whether they are our values and attitudes.

Today’s challenge:

Recognise one area of my life in which I should try to become better informed before making judgement.

 

 

 

Times of Discernment – Clarity

November 24, 2015

clear pathThere are moments in our lives when we are faced with a choice and we simply KNOW what we must do. There is a great clarity about what God is asking and we are freely able to respond because regardless of the consequences our path is clear.

St Paul’s conversion is a good biblical example – in a moment of clarity he was able to understand completely that God was calling him to change direction, and he responded. Perhaps you know more ordinary examples – people who experience ‘love at first sight’ marrying and remaining faithful throughout the whole of their lives to a single moment of clarity; people who have always had a certainty about a particular vocational choice, where even in spite of opposition or discouragement they have ‘known’ it was the right choice.

Some people may say that at these times discernment isn’t necessary – simply a decision. It may be more true to say that the discernment has already taken place in opening us up to God’s grace and enabling us to have the courage to respond freely and wholeheartedly.

The grace to trust and respond to God’s clear prompting comes through the daily opening up of our lives and the growth in trust that God is with me.

Challenge:

What have been the moments of clarity in my own life?

How can I grow in my ability to trust these moments and to act on them with confidence?

FCJ Pilgrimage – Issoudun

July 29, 2015
The Hospice of St Roch

The Hospice of St Roch

Marie Madeleine lived in Issoudun as a teenager and among the stories that we are familiar with from this period of her life is one about how she used to visit the sick in the hospice of St Roch. Visiting there you see an image of the women at the foot of the cross carved into the wall outside, and inside is a striking statue of Mary Magdalene clinging to the foot of the cross. Seeing these images I couldn’t but be led to consider the impact they would have had on Marie Madeleine’s spirituality and understanding of herself.

Mary Magdalen

Mary Magdalen

‘The cross will be our rallying point’

‘My name is Magdalene. I will follow my patron saint who so loved Jesus, … as to accompany him in his journeys and labours, ministering to him even to the foot of the cross with the other holy women who did not like the apostles, abandon him, but proved to be his faithful companions…’

Equally as striking is the large modern statue of Mary at the foot of the cross which is in the sanctuary and frames the altar at the Church of the Sacred Heart in the MSC centre where we stayed.

This image shows Mary holding one hand up towards the pierced side of her Son, whilst her other hand faces outwards. Mary is depicted as a strong and still, she doesn’t shy away from the suffering. Instead she appears to be receiving from Jesus, and giving. To me it is as though His life is flowing out through her to others.

Perhaps this is a helpful image for each of us as disciples… that of placing ourselves in such a way that Christs life can flow out though us to the world. 

issoudun

Life as a Novice – FCJ Formation

September 29, 2014
Novitiate is a fairly intense time of formation. It comes after postulancy and is a formal step into the Society. During novitiate we live in community and are accompanied by a named sister (novice director). We do study of the FCJ Constitutions, learn more about our spirituality, have an opportunity to deepen our prayer life and live reflectively. We also do apostolic work in situations which are different to our normal ministry or job. As an Ignatian congregation we also do the Spiritual Exercises – a 30 day silent retreat. Here are some reflections from Rowena, one of our current novices. Rowena is from the Philippines but is doing her novitiate in Indonesia. rowena
REFLECTIONS ON NOVITIATE BY ROWENA JAMBARO NOV FCJ
Novitiate is a great invitation and it is the most challenging phase of the journey of my life so far.  For me it is a precious time in which I am so much closer to God.  It’s a school of new beginnings made up of many elements: welcoming; learning; growing; exercising; living; deepening and letting go.
 
I am learning so many things during this special time: how to grow the love of Jesus in my heart; how to live with Jesus as the centre of my life; how to know myself better; how to stretch myself more in love for others; how to be a woman at the foot of the cross and go beyond it; how to be a contemplative in action, particularly in my daily living.
 
I have valued and enjoyed my apostolic ministries: visiting and accompanying the sick; teaching children and working with youth.  I have been inspired and helped by all those I have worked with and for.
 
Lots of questions come into my mind to ponder???  How to give myself fully to Jesus? How to love him faithfully, to follow him tenderly and serve him lovingly?  It is not always easy but bit by bit and through prayer I am aware of how to respond and I go on learning day by day.  Throughout this pilgrimage of my life Jesus is indeed my faithful companion. It is his everlasting love that strengthens my faith, hope and love.
 
I have been helped by the unconditional love and endless support of our novice director throughout this journey.  She has helped me and directed me as I have been moulded and shaped through God’s love.  I am grateful too to the many companions who have loved and supported me in so many ways.  God’s grace is always there for me.  Thanks be to God for love always in all things.  United in mind, heart and prayer with all those who read this.  God bless each one of you.

Contemporary Crosses

April 16, 2014

img_3809-e1396779671268As we move through Holy week I am reminded of our Chapter Decree;

“As women of the Church, standing at the foot of contemporary crosses, we are channels of hope, love and mercy in our villages, towns and cities. “

So much about this week is filled with beauty and life; the blossom on the trees, the weather, a less frenetic timetable… it makes my heart sing!

Yet there is so much around that is filled with pain too. So many aspects of our world where we can meet the crucified Christ. I watch the news of Ukraine and its people teetering on the edge of civil war; or a woman in the USA who murdered her new born infants; the people of Syria coping with so many years of war and displacement; or simply the elderly man in the local pharmacy looking for company and a friendly face. To me these are all contemporary crosses. All places in which God cries out in people’s lives for love, compassion, and hope.

 

 

TRAVELLING HOME FROM THE CHAPTER

November 6, 2013

Barbara, Beta and I are in process of travelling back to Indonesia from the Chapter.  We are probably the last members of our group to return home.  I am aware that there is a “rightness” about returning.  After all the time of preparation and the intense work of the Chapter it is time for the most important part of all – that is to LIVE out of our Chapter Directions.  We are called to live more fully our call as FCJs and to be increasingly creative in the way we respond to the needs of our time.  May we move forward together – always in the service of God and of God’s people.

FRANCIS HAS RE-ENERGISED US ALL!

April 9, 2013

Isn’t it great the way we are all suddenly really interested in what is going on in the Vatican?  In our house we can’t stop talking about Francis I and what he’s doing for the Church, the world and all of us…What joy that we
are so keen on what is going on in the Church!  Francis has energised us all!  FCJs like Jesuits are ready to be missioned anywhere by the Pope for the sake of God’s mission.  While Francis may not directly mission us if we are opening to what he is saying and doing we can take our inspiration from his example and words…and go and do likewise…