Listen to this!
Today’s Lectio Divina:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her: “Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.” She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call His name Jesus…And Mary said, “Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say.” Luke 1: 26-31, 38a (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #10: Ignatian spirituality is all about Holy Indifference. Freedom from disordered attachments empowers us to say yes to God, living more fully into the person God has created us to be. The glory of God is a person fully alive (St Irenaeus). Resistance to indifference is not to be ignored but can serve as a doorway to the Divine and to self-discovery.
So far in this discussion on Holy Indifference, we’ve considered a song of King David…
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23: 4 (NIV)
And the written words of Paul…
…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. Philippians 4: 11-13 (NIV)
Today, let’s ponder a moment on Mary’s infamous response to the angel Gabriel…
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1: 38 (NIV)
The Catholic Church has a name assigned to Mary’s words here found in Luke’s Gospel. It’s called the Fiat Mihi, and that is a Latin term which translates “Be it done in me” or, as Eugene Peterson translates it in The Message Bible, “Let it be with me.”
As I see it, Mary’s Fiat Mihi just might be one of the shortest prayers of Holy Indifference that we find in the Scriptures. For it’s here we find a godly young woman basically giving up control of all her hopes and dreams, entrusting her life and her future into the hands of God. Much has been written about the high-cost Mary paid in saying yes to becoming the mother of Jesus so I won’t belabor the point here, but suffice to say that when it comes to having an attitude of Holy Indifference, Mary certainly models it to us with flying colors.
Nearly two thousand years later, another Mary took this “letting go & letting God” theme found in the Fiat Mihi and developed a similar prayer of indifference called the Welcoming Prayer. A long-time associate of Father Thomas Keating, Mary Mrozowski (1925-1993), found herself in a place in life where she needed, like Mary of old, to fully surrender an overwhelming situation into God’s hands. As a result, the Welcoming Prayer came about. Let me share the three concepts of it here with you:
- Focus & sink in on the reality of the moment. To focus on the upset means to feel it as a sensation in your body. Gently become aware of your body and your interior state. Sink into the reality of your feelings. Feel the pain. Feel the knot in your stomach. Feel the ache in your head or the lump in your throat. Pay close attention to what it feels like inside you. Don’t analyze or repress the unpleasant feelings, but allow God to help you become physically aware of the way your body is responding to the frustration you are currently experiencing.
- Welcome the feeling/emotion that’s associated with the moment. The good/bad/ugly – welcome the pain/feeling/emotion by name. Name it. Own it. Hold it with inner hospitality. This approach will feel strange to you at first. Society says to push it away or stuff it down. But don’t. And as you welcome it, remember that welcoming is vastly different than condoning or excusing the sin/sickness that surrounds the situation. Welcoming doesn’t mean rolling over & playing dead. It means coming to a place of holy indifference, where Jesus is at the center of your frustrations and has all of this in His care. Embracing the feeling/emotion in the presence of Jesus breaks its power in you.
- Let it all go. Much like a fisherman knows “catch & release,” it’s now time for you to “release” and let go of the feelings/emotions you have just recognized. Invite Jesus to join you, asking for the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit in letting go of all you’ve recognized about yourself and this current frustration. End your time by offering yourself back to God, asking Him to lead and guide you going forward in His peace, even as the circumstances surrounding your frustrations may still be alive.
Here’s a Welcoming Prayer, Father Thomas Keating developed for himself when he knew he needed to find a Holy Indifference with himself and with God…
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment.
Because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome thoughts, feelings, persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person, or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and the healing action and grace within.
My prayer: Father God, thank You for the many examples of Holy Indifference, found in both the Scriptures and the lives of others who’ve gone before us. Thank You for Mary’s Fiat Mihi and Mary Mrozowski’s Welcoming Prayer. Now, with the leading of the Holy Spirit, may I find my own words of surrender and release. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: How might I best surrender my circumstances over to God today? Am I willing to “let Go and let God,” welcoming a Holy Indifference into my life, replacing my striving, worry, and concern with a powerful peace that comes from Christ, a peace sent from above?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
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