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Pagan Blog Post: Learning from Ignatian Spirituality

I’m pretty comfortable with my Catholic roots and the reality that it’s not all that removed from my life. After all, there is still good in it, despite all the scandals, rampant misogyny (Nuns are awesome), and the theology that I rejected.

When my brother was doing his pre-seminary work at Conception Abbey, it renewed a love that I had as a child for monks. Nuns seemed boring, although now I know better. I’m currently reading The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything and I wanted to share some of the portions that I think can benefit most people, even outside Christianity.

Ignatian Spirituality is concerned with the now, and where God is now, and the call and response of life. When God(s) call how do we respond? Ignatian spirituality is contemplation in action — it’s grounded in the practical world. You have your reflective life that is evident in your community, that is active in all that you do. They are the order that finds God in All Things, and work for the Glory of God.

Ignatius set up the Daily Examen, which to me seems like a prayer journal. Each day, you do this:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

A simple, and powerful exercise designed to really work on reflecting your inner life and bringing it outwards. As pagans, this is something that we are used to. If you work will, this is one way of working it without it being a type of witchcraft (something that is of importance to me, as witchcraft sometimes makes me uncomfortable. Magic isn’t always the same way for me, and I fully admit that this is probably a personal issue.)

If you are interested in learning more about the Jesuits/Ignatian Spirituality, to pick up the book I mentioned (it’s very accessible, without being condescending) or read through Ignatian Spirituality.  Of course, the Jesuits aren’t without their own scandals as well and while I don’t believe in throwing out the baby with the bath water it is always important to read about them as well

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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What I don’t have

My brothers amazing, beautiful Ordination was two weeks ago and I feel like he kinda rubs it in my face.

It’s a horrible way to start out a post about my family and my faith, isn’t it? I feel so proud of my brother that I could burst. I watched him when he first got out of college, working for a truck leasing company and you could tell that underneath the rapid book buying, he was so frustrated with himself. And then when he made the choice to go into the priesthood, he was slowed by a family trait. Our severe lack of social skills, in his case “empathy”. The diocese spent an entire year or more on him, making him go out into the community, learning to act, spent in reflection, to build the skills he needed so that he could start the long Formation Process.

And at Ordination and more when he said his first Mass the next day, joy radiated through him. It was wonderful to see. No matter my own feelings on the Roman Catholic Church, it suits him, which is all that is important. To see how bright he shone as he administered communion is all I’ve ever needed to see from him. Perhaps, he is better as Father than Brother.

It was at his ordination that I started to feel it though, that I was meant to radiate that joy as a devotee, perhaps someday a maenad, of Dionysos.

But at some point, that depressed me. Because here was this huge community outreach, family, friends and church, that came to support him on this journey. I still feel like I have to hone everything down anywhere outside the internet — including local pagan groups. There’s always places like Cherry Hill and such, but they too are more towards outreach and versions of clergy that participates in groups. The social problems that my brother had were easily fixable, introversion isn’t so much.

I can live without community though, but knowing I’d likely never get that support from my family is so disheartening. They’ve accepted without saying anything that I’m not Christian anymore and I think they are relieved that I’m not an atheist, but none have really ever has wanted to talk to me about what I believe or what I do. They look at my altar and then away, call me heathen or make small jokes (and appreciate that I’m more mature in my dismissal of Catholicism, although I think mom is a little sad that I didn’t become a Baptist!), but nothing that would lead me to believe that they’d support me in the way they supported my brother.

Sometimes I even feel this way about my husband; he who loves me beyond all reason, puts my faith as one of those things that is beyond all reason. I think he’d support me though when he’s ready to start taking it seriously.

It’s shame for them though, because they won’t see the joy in my eyes when I am ready, when I am filled, when I am dancing in the wake of Dionysos.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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