We find our truest self in relationship with God. God knows us and loves us more truly than we can know or love ourselves. The invitation for today’s prayer is to allow God to tell us who we are. God looks at all God has made in us, and finds it very good.
- As this prayer time begins, become aware of what you are “carrying”: in your body, in your mind and memories from today. See if you can set them down at the feet of Jesus for this time, knowing that he carries all our burdens.
- Allow your body to relax, and your mind to put aside its pressing concerns just for now.
- Both Ignatius and Mary Ward found God in the dramatic high and low points in life, but they also encountered the ‘everyday God’, the God of little things and the ordinary aspects of our human living. Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “I greet Him the days I meet Him, and bless when I understand”. We bless when we understand, but often we don’t notice the ‘everyday God’, because we’re too busy looking for the extraordinary. Developing a contemplative openness to God present in all our experience becomes the way to allow it to become clear to us.
- At a difficult moment in her life, Mary Ward looked in a mirror and was overwhelmed by a sense of God’s glory. The glory of God may not be the first thing most of us see when we look in the mirror, but St. Irenaeus wrote: ‘The glory of God is a living human being; and the life of human beings consists in beholding God.’ How do you think God feels when looking at you?
- This is what the prophet Isaiah has to say:
Scripture: Isaiah 43:1-5
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you […]
Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you,
[…] Do not fear, for I am with you;”
- God says these words to you personally. There is no human experience, good or bad, in which God is not present. God longs to be found. Has there been a time recently when you have become especially aware of God’s loving presence? Go back there and savour it if you can.
- Perhaps you have been going through a time when God seems absent from your life. Hear those words again: “You are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you”. Can you hear God say this through your difficulties?
- Ignatius and Mary Ward learned to let go even of their most cherished dreams and to hand over the initiative for their lives to God. What would be most challenging for you in doing this? What do you think God’s dream is for you?
- Ignatius encourages us to prayer in and through our body and our senses. Try this for yourself and become aware of what happens.
- Perhaps there is pain that you carry within your physical body or in your memories. St. Augustine writes about desire, saying that though we can’t yet see what we desire in God, the very act of desiring gives us the capacity to receive the grace God is offering. What grace are you deeply desiring right now? Ask God for it as we end this prayer time.