The gentle warmth of the May sun shines upon my face. I cannot help but smile. My heart knows a deep peace in this moment—that abiding peace which only Christ can give. God’s praises swell within my soul and I sing out in joy to Him with my pen on the paper of my journal. My voice does not ring out now—though it soon will. I have not spoken in six days.
Well, to be completely honest, I have spoken a little—once each day to my spiritual director, and the responses in Mass. Amen. Alleluia. And with your spirit. But otherwise I have spoken only to God in the quiet depths of my heart. It is one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life.
This describes my journey through a seven day silent retreat based upon the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast we celebrate today. The spirituality and prayer life of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus, have had a profound impact on the Church. To put it another way, the fruits born from his “mustard seed” of a life continue to be realized, centuries after his life on Earth ended.
The parables we hear Jesus speak to us in the Gospel today are about everyday stuff. A mustard seed. Some yeast. Yet these seemingly ordinary things become extraordinary by God’s design and with His grace. Your life can be a mustard seed; your love can be yeast. We need only ask God to make it so.
I was first introduced to Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s Suscipe prayer on my silent retreat. Would you pray it with me now, sister?
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
That is enough for me.”
May all we do be ad majorem Dei gloriam—for the greater glory of God. Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
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Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, vocal artist and teacher. She currently resides in New York City, though she will always be a Midwestern gal at heart. Elise has a heart for ministry, dark chocolate (but not too dark) and coffee with a generous amount of cream + sugar. Find out more about her here.