July is a special month for Ignatian Spirituality as July 31 is the Feast Day for St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. This year, the outstanding site Ignatian Spirituality is having a “31 Days with St. Ignatius” countdown with a different reflection each day.
I am only a week off of a silent retreat focused on Ignatian spirituality but the memories of that wonderful experience are already starting to fade as I am getting immersed back into my hectic daily life. However, one of the reflections from the “31 Days” really harkened to my retreat. One of the principles of Ignatian Spirituality is to develop a reverence and awe for the grandeur of God and then enter into a deep and personal relationship with God. By doing this, we will be able to experience God moving and acting in our everyday life. An initial step in this journey is to learn to live reverently. The “31 Day” reflection for tomorrow (yes, I know I am jumping ahead but I will be traveling so consider this a preview:-) is an outstanding reflection on learning to live reverently by Gerald M. Fagin, S.J. Below is an excerpt:
“Reverence is a virtue to be cultivated and practiced. It is a disposition of heart that leads us to the good in all things and draws us closer to God. Reverence brings us closer to other people and to the world around us. The reverent person notices and responds to the mystery of life and the sacredness of all things. Reverence is an attitude of dependence and humility, an appreciation of the splendor and beauty of all reality, and a longing for something greater. Reverence is a self-effacing virtue, but it implies as well a reverence for oneself as a person created and loved and chosen by God. Reverence gives voice to our desire for God, our desire to find fulfillment beyond ourselves in the mystery that embraces us.
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We feel such things often—in the countless number of stars on a clear night, before a work of art, at the birth of a child, at the moment of dying of a loved one. These contemplative experiences draw us closer to God even as we feel small and unworthy. They are sacred moments that expand the landscapes of our hearts. Ignatius knew reverence when he prayed at night under the stars, but he knew it as well in the business of each day. He hoped to elicit that experience throughout the Exercises.
Ignatius believed that anyone who prayerfully considers the basic truth that we are created out of love by a transcendent God of holiness will grow in a sense of reverence. We will have a deepened sense of the sacredness of all things if we think of everything as continually being called and sustained in being by God. We will stand in awe not just before sunsets and mountains, flowers and trees, but also, and especially, before every person we meet. Reverence is a disposition of a heart that allows us to live before the beauty and goodness of every creature and the God who made them. In Ignatian terminology, reverence will enable us to find God in all things.”
I encourage you to read the entire post here.