Thursday, July 23, 2009

St. Ignatius Strikes Again!

Yesterday, I helped give a presentation for work to volunteers transitioning out of long-term service. I've given this presentation a few times now, and we have a section on Desolation and Consolation to help volunteers give a name to what they may or may not be feeling. Plus, St. Ignatius has such great tools for dealing with spiritual 'feelings', why re-invent the wheel for them?

In talking about desolation recently, I remembered a very important step from Ignatius that helped me sooo much around the summer of '06 when I was in full swing visiting religious orders. My spiritual director reminded me Ignatius says, 'do not make a major change in times of desolation'.

At the time, that was very helpful advice because I was experiencing some desolation with the sisters I was visiting, and they ended up not being the order I entered because of that. I took that lack of God's voice as a sign that that particular place was not the place for me.

Not that I'm planning on making any major changes to my life, but I wonder if maybe that's why none are coming my way either. It makes sense, if I am not 'feeling' God's presence, He's probably not going to be leading me into a new endeavor until He and I are 'feeling' whatever it is I right?

Speaking of desolation, I am reading Mother Teresa's 'Come Be My Light' which brought much controversy because people thought it was an account of how Mother Teresa lived the last years of her live without any faith. I'm about 6 chapters in, and I can tell you this is not the case! That woman had a faith that I am currently envying! She put complete trust in God and trust purely out of her love for Him. I haven't gotten to the chapters on the 'desolation' part of her life yet, but just reading about what she had to go through to achieve her 'call within a call' as she refers to it- her being inspired by God to leave the order she was with to serve the poorest of the poor in India- she had to have lots and lots of faith! Shoot!

I've been reading all her letters to archbishops and her spiritual director, and even the Vatican, begging them to grant her requests. That woman was a persistent, let me tell you! She would write month after month to get her vision of the order approved, and then had to write more letters and wait longer to be excused (for lack of a better word on my part) of her current vows to start the new order. She had to wait ALOT it seems, and she wasn't always patient! But she completely trusted in God at the same time. I like to think that she and I have that in common...though I'm slightly wavering usually on the trust part!

She and St. Paul certainly have that in common- a complete love and trust for God that led them to be persistent in their goals. This requires, though, much patience, and I'm just now seeing that perseverance requires such patience.

I've always known some of my gifts are perseverance and persistence...I'm pretty good at 'hanging in there'. But having patience is NOT. Why would God do that? Give someone a couple of gifts, but leave one major component in making those gifts WORK out??? Hmmmm, are making me wonder more and more about you lately! I suppose, though, that this is so we WILL rely on Him like Mother Teresa and St. Paul did. He's sooo tricky like that...

So I know I just prayed to St. Joseph for patience, but now I'm calling on Mother Teresa and St. Paul too. All you holy men and women, who love the Lord, give me patience through Him! Amen.

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