SE Introduction: Session Nine.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge Him. As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6:3 (NIV)
So next week, it begins.
I hope and pray that you’re ready. I hope and pray that I’m ready.
As we mentioned last time, the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is an ancient pathway of spiritual disciplines used by generations of Christ-followers since the late sixteenth century. If things go as planned, I believe we’ll all be blessed people when we’re done. But folks, please. Don’t get confused here. Walking through the Spiritual Exercises over the next thirty-two weeks is not something one does because they feel strong enough to do it. In truth, the Exercises are designed for the lowly and the meek, the poor and the under-nourished, the hungry and the thirsty.
The fact of the matter is that no one; saint nor sinner, rich or poor, male or female, young or old, is ready, in their own flesh, to walk down the path of life with Jesus of Nazareth. In truth, you and I are all much less than the Master. Always have been. Always will be. And while some look at that fact and shy away from all things holy, the good news of the Jesus-message is that every earth-dweller, regardless of size, shape, stature or status is welcome to travel as a troubadour with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
So, come on. Let’s go.
What’s that? You say that you’re feeling a bit uncertain about this trek? Look at this humble prayer offered up by one Jesus-seeking man named Thomas Merton.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
And the fact that I think I am following Your will,
Does not mean that I am actually doing that.
But I believe that the desire to please You, does in fact please You.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road,
Though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust You always,
Though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
And You will never leave me to face my perils alone.
So there! Self-doubts and false-rumors. Be damned! Unbelief, fear of failure, lack of trust. Get behind me! Past mistakes, present sinfulness, and future screw-ups. Step aside! I’m not placing my hope in me on this journey. I’m placing my trust in Jesus, who can do all things no matter what the circumstances might be.
So, ready or not. Here we go. See you on Monday.
And be sure to bring your Bible, a notebook and pen, and your belief that God is faithful to complete those things that He begins!
My prayer: Father God, my hope is in You. Not me. My desire to please You, in fact, does please You. So Jesus, walk slowly, yet steadily. Give me time to catch my breath as we journey along the way. Holy Spirit, be my Guide and Protector. And may the Kingdom Force of God Almighty be with us! For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What final preparations do I need to make for this thirty-two week adventure? Is my schedule cleared, making room for some extra time with God? Is my heart in the right place? How about my mind? My attitude? Am I placing my confidence in Jesus and not in my own strength? Is my hope in Him, and Him alone?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!