How would you like to be able to leave a legacy that would still be of life-changing importance to your descendants and future generations 500 years after you’re gone? I know of someone for whom that is true!
Last Monday was a special day in the world of Jesuit ministries like our parish: the feast day of the Jesuits’ founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola (ca. 1491-1556). What is the remarkable legacy he left behind? – his book The Spiritual Exercises, which is still a valued treasure for thousands of people in our world today. The book is really just an outline for an experienced person to guide another through a way of praying, a certain course of meditations, and growth in “discernment” – so his legacy is not just the book, but a pathway of spirituality. What makes it so remarkable is that so many people in our world today still find these Spiritual Exercises to be helpful, inspiring, and foundational for their own growth in spirituality and in their relationship with God in Christ. It is not an exaggeration that many say their experience of the Exercises is life-changing, taking their relationship with God to a whole new level.
Here’s where YOU come in… Over the last few years, we have offered introductory programs in the Spiritual Exercises in a variety of formats, and many parishioners have taken advantage of them. We will offer them again this year: both an introductory 6-week version, as well as opportunities for the full Exercises spread out over 6 to 8 months. If you haven’t done so yet, I encourage you to try the 6-week introduction; it’s my noble aspiration for every member of our Jesuit parish to have some experience of the Exercises. If you’ve already completed an introductory experience (six to twelve weeks), consider making the full Exercises spread out over the year.
Watch for upcoming notices of an information session we’ll offer in mid-September. That will be a great opportunity to learn all about it, without having to make any commitment. You can just come and learn, hearing first-hand from fellow-parishioners who have done it – and then consider if it seems right for you, if the Spirit is moving you in that way.
This Sunday the liturgy celebrates the Transfiguration of Jesus. While many elements of our faith are embedded in that story about Jesus, it is also a paradigm for our own lives. As St. Paul says, we are all meant to be transfigured into the likeness of Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. The Spiritual Exercises are a great way to engage in your own “transfiguration,” to let the Spirit lead you deeper into discovering the mystery of Christ within you.