Gratitude is at the coronary heart of prayer and thus is central to Ignatian spirituality.
For instance, in praying the Examen, I start with putting myself in God’s presence and providing gratitude to God. By beginning with gratitude, I enable God’s generosity to border all the things else about which I’m going to hope. Perhaps in the Examen, I can be taking a look at the place I skilled kindness from a pal, the place I used to be beneficiant with a scholar, or the place I fell wanting generosity. When I start with gratitude, I take into account this stuff in mild of gratitude for God’s beneficiant love for me.
This gratitude then impacts how I pray the remainder of the Examen. If I’ve did not be beneficiant someplace in my day and discover this in my prayer, I’ll extra doubtless needless to say God is form and needs to hear and encourage me to search out the right way to act otherwise in the future. When I recollect a heartfelt dialog with a pal, I’ll extra doubtless do not forget that my pal’s very existence is a present from God, and my emotions of gratitude for her are kindled and glow much more. Giving thanks followers the flames of affection and comfort, opening our hearts to let God into all our coronary heart’s inside chambers.
Each of the weeks of the Spiritual Exercises can be set in the context of gratitude. In Week One, when praying over my very own sins, I’m known as to note how God is current to me even in my failures. Then, after we pray the triple colloquy, we’re invited to contemplate the loving presence of Mary, Jesus, and God the Creator surrounding us with care and compassion in how our contrition is acquired.
In Week Two, we’re known as to observe Christ and to be companions and associates with him in bringing about the kingdom of heaven. These prayers begin with imaginative meditation on the lifetime of Christ. Prayers during which I’ve imagined Jesus’s nativity or watched Jesus heal and preach naturally lead me virtually to overflow with gratitude. I really feel gratitude once I think about holding the Christ Child—how candy is his new child scent, how cute are his little fingers and toes, and how treasured is his smile as he sleeps. How grateful I could really feel in witnessing the tender love that Jesus exhibits others when he heals them. When we see this sort of love, in prayer or in the world, we naturally really feel gratitude. I really feel grateful to be requested to be a pal to Christ and to have the ability to share in his work. Christian love then turns into not a chore, however an expression of gratitude for with the ability to be right here and to partake of this world with Jesus.
Week Three focuses on Jesus’ Passion and emphasizes Jesus’ nice love for us in laying down his life. Even when there are tears concerned in each recognizing the gravity of struggling and accepting the depth of Christ’s love on the Cross, there’s additionally a plenitude of gratitude. I can recall, for instance, moments of tending to Jesus as he prayed in the Garden or how Jesus from the Cross tended to me, even in the midst of his personal struggling. The results of permitting ourselves to search out love in the midst of struggling is gratitude.
Finally, in Week Four, we’ll much more simply discover gratitude in the Resurrection and love’s conquer struggling and demise. With pleasure and peace in the risen Christ, we transfer to the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love, which is a recollection of the many items that God has given to me and a return of all these items to God. There is a mutual communication between God and me as I do the Exercises and a need to enact this love in the daily of my life. This springs from my gratitude to God.
I’ve come to be taught over the course of many experiences of prayer, in lots of seasons of life, that there’s all the time one thing for which to be grateful. That doesn’t imply that we should be thankful for the unhealthy issues that occur or reduce loss and struggling, however somewhat that God is there in the midst of no matter we expertise. We are by no means alone and are all the time guided by a God who’s at the very coronary heart of all that we’re. For this, we may be grateful, certainly.
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