Editor’s Note: During July, we are hosting 31 days with Saint Ignatius, a monthly of Ignatian spirituality. In addition to calendar of Ignatian Articles found heremessages on dotMagis will explore this month Ignatian year theme: “To see all things new in Christ.”
This month I am writing from the desert. I spent a lot of time looking at the beautiful peaks that surround my abode in the valley and noticed that as the angle of the sun changes, different parts of the mountains come into light. In the morning light, rare shrubs and cacti make the mountains green. By noon they look ashen and barren. In the orange light of the setting sun, the flora falls out of focus, and my eye is drawn to the dark jagged edges of the peaks. The mountains stand firmly in place, but from sunrise to sunset, my view changes completely.
A lot of this happens in spiritual life. When we pray, the Spirit often reveals things we might not have noticed before. This usually happens gradually, just as the sun illuminates one face of a mountain and then moves to other faces during the day. However, for some, like St. Ignatius, come rare experiences that light up the whole mountain. He has AutobiographyIgnat speaks about a the vision he had near the river Cordoner in Spain:
A stream flows near the road, on the bank of which he sat and looked at the deep waters flowing nearby. During the sitting, the eyes of his soul were opened. He had no particular vision, but his mind was enlightened on many subjects, spiritual and intellectual. This knowledge was so clear that from that day everything appeared before him in a new light. In his mind was such an abundance of this light that all the divine help received and all the knowledge acquired before his sixty-second year were unequaled by him. From that day on, he seemed like a completely different person and possessed a new mind.
Ignatius’ memories of his summit experience are filled with light imagery: “his mind was enlightened;” “Everything appeared to him in a new light;” “It was like that the abundance of this light in his mind.” In those moments on the banks of the Cordoner River, when Ignatius was enlightened, he was given a grace see all things new in Christ.
This experience was so bright that Ignat simply could not contain it. Throughout his life, and continues to this day through Spiritual exercises, Ignatius worked to share some of the light he received on the river that day. He really wanted to help people to accept that Love that looks at us and to recognize that no matter how many times we experience the Crucifixion with Christ in the deaths and tragedies of our lives, we are always promised a place in the Resurrection. In this very comforting and hopeful promise we find that “peace which the world cannot give.”
We could find inspiration in the experience of Ignatius Cardoner. How can we follow his example as we seek to see all things new in Christ?
Go to the river.
Get away from the daily grind and take time to make yourself available to God. Go to nature, to your prayer room to Adorationor where you find living water flowing.
Pray for grace.
Pray with these or similar words:
Jesus, here I am. I trust you and give you permission to change me. Illuminate the eyes of my heart. Help me, as you helped Ignatius, to see everything anew. Let me feel your loving gaze and receive your love. Give me the freedom to know deep in my soul that your love for me is so great that nothing can ever separate me from you. May the peace, love and joy of Your Spirit grow in me – the Light that will allow me to see You in all people and in everything and give You more and more praise with my life.
Take time to deepen your prayer using scripture. Experience the stories of Jesus’ life Ignatian contemplation.
Wait for the Spirit.
Don’t be disappointed if you don’t have a big Cardonera moment right away like Ignatius! Remember, Ignazzi has already gone through months of recovery afterwards cannon shot and the hard way to Montserrat. He had spent months praying in a cave in Manres before that moment by the river. And he noted that in his entire life he had only had one experience similar to Cardoner’s vision. So, be patient. Spirit often works imperceptibly in the stillness of the heart, and over time you may notice moments of enlightenment in the facets of your life. Some of the hallmarks of this may be regaining peace, love, or joy.
Share your experience.
Let’s consider contacting the Ignatian spiritual director to accompany you on your journey. Or share your prayer experience with a trusted friend. Ignat learned that camaraderie is very important in the search.
Today in 31 days with Saint Ignatiusenjoy yourself 10 Ways Ignatian Spirituality Supports a Busy Life Becky Eldridge. Use a hashtag #31 Day of Ignatius on your favorite social networks to share how St. Ignatius has helped you see all things new in Christ.