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Welcome! We invite you to make a 'Sacred Space' in your day, praying here and now, as you visit our website, with the help of scripture chosen every day and on-screen guidance.

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Something to think and pray about this week

In his autobiography, Ignatius explains how, toward the end of his life, the thought of his own death filled him with intense joy. The prospect of soon being reunited with his Creator and Lord made him “melt into tears.” At the same time, Ignatius was in love with life. He could find God in all things and serve him in every activity and event, just as his spirituality teaches us. There was no need to wait until after death to taste the joy of God’s presence. In practice, finding God in all things gives us the opportunity to consider our lives here and now as the precise place where we can already experience the fullness of God’s love.

Ignatius, with his genuine insight into human nature, warned against two possible pitfalls in the spiritual life: nostalgia for the past and needless dreaming about the future. It makes sense to look back on past experiences, for in doing so we can trace specific moments of God’s presence. We recognize his presence in experiences of peace and joy, vitality and trust. Our past can provide a rich source of learning, especially since we can use times of reflection to inspire our choices. Such ongoing reflection gives us the opportunity to adapt our lives now so that they’re more closely linked to the ways God is drawing us. But we can also get stuck in our own past and end up watching the same film over and over. Whether that is a consequence of regret or anger, the result is the same: we allow ourselves to withdraw from the only time that really exists — the present.

Ignatius did not want his novices (candidates for the Society of Jesus) to be told today what they would have to do tomorrow. That would only distract them from the great challenge that every person faces of living fully in the present moment, in the now. We can look at it this way: a good parent has to make plans for the future and do so in good time. But even in this situation, parents can be tempted to spend needless time day-dreaming about a not-yet-existing future at the expense of real life. St. John Berchmans (1599–1621), a Flemish Jesuit who died young, understood this concept of living in the present very well. While playing billiards one day, he was asked what he would do if he were told that he only had a few more minutes to live. He answered: “I would go on playing billiards.”

- Excerpted from Jesuits Telling Jokes by Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ