A major premise of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises is that we human beings were created by God, who creates good things out of love; thus we humans are most fulfilled when we live out the desires and purposes God built into our design. We are created to love, to enjoy life, to exist in loving community in the world.
When we truly believe that we are designed for a fulfilling life, then we can begin to let go of our fears about what God might want for us. It is only when we are convinced of God’s love that we can trust and give ourselves to God. We grow in our perception and awareness of God’s love as we pay attention to daily details, as we practice gratitude. We pay attention and begin to see that God is in fact present to us through the everyday and the ordinary. God does not require anything to be “special” or “holy,” because we are special and holy already.
Our response to God’s generosity is to give him the only things God doesn’t already have: our freedom, our will, our memories, our entire selves. God has given us these things, and he has told us we’re free to do whatever we want with them, no strings attached. Now, because we love God and he loves us, we freely give our entire selves back to him. (God Finds Us, 157)
- What causes me to hold myself back from enthusiastic communion with God?
- If I imagine God looking at me, at my life, what is God’s response to me? Judgment? Joy? Anticipation? Mercy?