Jesuits, Spirituality, Religion

God has a vision for the world. Each person, says Ignatius, plays an essential and unique role in the implementation of that vision. Unlike substitutes in a rugby game, no one else can play our part in the distinctive way that only we can. We may not be certain what our role is, but it’s got a lot to do with our temperament and personality. All God wants is for us to reflect on who we are, on what gives us life, on what we are good at, in which direction we’re travelling and how. Our own circumstances determine how best we can contribute to the world. Ignatius again reminds us to reflect from time to time, following the guidelines he gives us for discernment of spirits, decision-making and the Examen prayer.

Excerpted from Reimagining Religion: A Jesuit Vision by Jim Maher SJ (p.108)

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Your People

If you build your relationships on the basis of wanting to know and understand others and to give yourself to them; if you truly discover that, as St Paul says, ‘You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion’ (2 Corinthians 9:11); if you manage to grasp that all you have – your talent, joy, heart song, strength (and weakness) is for giving to others; if you learn to live by reaching out to others or allowing them to reach out to you; if you share your time, energy, plans and ideas with others; if you’re truly interested in others and make space for them in your world, then you will enjoy true, genuine encounters.

Excerpted from Dancing With Loneliness by José Maria R. Olaizola SJ (P.116)

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Living in fear is like living in a box. The space we inhabit is small. Our journeys in life are short and mainly unsatisfactory. Life becomes claustrophobic and a chore.

Only when we break free from fear can we see how big and full of possibility life actually is. And once we see this, we’re less likely to fall back into fear. The trick is breaking free for the first time. 

It’s no coincidence therefore, that the most common thing Jesus, and other major spiritual teachers, teaches is ‘be not afraid’. It seems to have been the cornerstone of what he taught us – the only way to begin a truly enlightened spiritual path.

Excerpted from Finding God in the Mess: Meditations for Mindful Living by Brendan McManus SJ & Jim Deeds (p.8)

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I’m Spiritual

Spirituality inspires how we live, especially what we do, and how we spend our time. The word ‘spirituality’ owes its origin to the Latin word ‘spiritus’ which has connotations of life-giving breath.  We could perhaps call it by another name, such as our value system and beliefs. If I spend the day with a compassionate attitude matched by compassionate actions, I have a spirituality that’s inspired by something good and life-giving, leading me towards a space that enriches me as a human being. If I spend my day demeaning and exploiting others, I have a ‘spirituality’ that is life-denying and undermining my humanity, because the fundamental human orientation is to live life, not undermine it.

Excerpted from Reimagining Religion: A Jesuit Vision by Jim Maher SJ (p.19)

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Sometimes you can be a prisoner of a story not your own. You can be wrapped up in a story of greed, vengeance or vanity. Your entire story can sometimes be captured by others who sum you up in a word or category, and you can then become that word: alcoholic, neurotic, victim, loser, and so on. You can find yourself living through the eyes of others, losing sight of your own value. Stories that tell you you’re hopeless and will come to nothing are self-defeating: stories that tell you you’re wonderful and special can leave you vulnerable when challenges come your way. To be fully alive you need to be in touch with the story that begins and ends in love, and for many of us that is the Christian story.

Excerpted from Dipping Into Life by Alan Hilliard (p.77)

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If you put too much pressure on any part of your life, there is risk of collapse. If you put too much pressure on any one part of your being, there is a risk of collapse too. The body, soul, mind and emotions are given to you to spread the load. The same is true of your family and friends, and of support services and those things that help you discover your beliefs and values. When you are in good form, you are aware of all these ‘arches’ in your life. The load is spread quite evenly. When you are in bad form, you put too much pressure on one ‘arch’, that single arch just can’t carry the load!

Excerpted from Dipping Into Life by Alan Hilliard (p.48)

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