I have a diverse spiritual background. I grew up as a cultural Jew. I considered myself agnostic until I got “saved” in my early 20’s. After that I had a several years in the Baptist church, walked with Reformed brothers and sisters, and found family in the Episcopal church. I have enjoyed worshiping with my Evangelical-Free brethren and spent many years finding church outside of institutional affiliations.
All of those experiences were wonderful, but I really found my spiritual home in 2011. That’s when I started a two-year journey as part of the Denver Cohort of the Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation. I met a group of kindred spirits from a variety of backgrounds who have become lifelong friends. Through some of the readings at the institute I was introduced to Ignatian Spirituality — and it truly resonates with me.
The Six Characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality
In his book, An Ignatian Spirituality Reader, George W. Traub outlines six characteristics that define Ignatian Spirituality.
- It sees life and the whole universe as a gift calling forth wonder and gratefulness.
- It gives ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as intellect.
- It seeks to find the divine in all things—in all peoples and cultures, in all areas of study and learning, in every human experience, and (for the Christian) especially in the person of Jesus.
- It cultivates critical awareness of personal and social evil, but points to God’s love as more powerful than any evil.
- It stresses freedom, need for discernment, and responsible action.
- It empowers people to become leaders in service, men and women for others, whole persons of solidarity, building a more just and humane world.
It offers a beautiful vision of God, humanity and the world around us. It gives me a way to true to myself (emotional and intellectual) in tangible ways. It acknowledges my frailty, but gives space for God to overcome it. Most importantly, it continually reminds me that its not about me.
Do these characteristics resonate with you?
Finding God In All Things
Ignatian Spirituality has made such an impact on me that I use one of its core tenets, Finding God In All Things, as the tagline for my blog. It has also helped me to become a contemplative in action, as my friend Andy Otto puts it.
It’s unlikely that I’ll ever become a practicing Catholic or a Jesuit. However, through the teachings of St. Ignatius and those who have come after him, this nomad has found a wonderful approach to living fully. And I am thankful for it.