Listen to this!
Today’s Lectio Divina:
At about that same time He (Jesus) climbed a mountain to pray. He was there all night in prayer before God. The next day He summoned His disciples; from them He selected twelve He designated as apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, Andrew, his brother, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, son of Alphaeus, Simon, called the Zealot, Judas, son of James, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him. Coming down off the mountain with them, He stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear Him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch Him—so much energy surging from Him, so many people healed! Luke 6: 12-19 MsgB
Ignatian Truth #12: Ignatian spirituality is all about living our lives for the Greater Glory of God (AMDG). We’re contemplatives-in-action; Christ-followers set apart for the glory of God and the service of others. Our mission, as we grow ever closer to Jesus, will mean that the road is our home.
Ignatius never described the faith he had in Christ as something that would ultimately require him to be hidden away, taken out of the world in order to be closer to God. While other dedicated men and women of the Church were pulling away from society, moving into monasteries, convents, and nunneries, Ignatius and his small band of brothers were doing just the opposite!
In Ignatian spirituality, the closer one draws into the heart of Jesus, the more one “hears” the Master’s invitation to join Him as He goes outward into the world, sharing the blessings of God with all who might receive. Many today call this lifestyle of drawing close to Christ so that we might join Him as He goes out into the world, contemplative activism. The early Jesuits subscribed to such practices and used an expression to describe their activity that went something like this…
As friends of Jesus, the road is our home.
Henri Nouwen, in his book A Spirituality of Living, discusses this unique call to contemplative activism by looking more carefully at today’s text from Luke’s Gospel. Let me share with you Nouwen’s commentary on Luke 6: 12-19…
This is a beautiful story that moves from night to morning to afternoon. Jesus spent the night in solitude with God. In the morning, He gathered His apostles around Him and formed community. In the afternoon, with His apostles, He went out and preached the Word and healed the sick. Notice the order – from solitude to community to ministry. The night is for solitude; the morning for community; the afternoon for ministry.
So often in ministry, I have wanted to do it by myself. If it didn’t work, I went to others and said, ‘Please!’ searching for a community to help me. If that didn’t work, maybe I’d start praying. But the order that Jesus teaches us is the reverse. It begins by being with God in solitude; then it creates a fellowship, a community of people with whom the mission is being lived; and finally this community goes out together to heal and to proclaim good news.
I believe you can look at (these) three disciplines by which we create space for God. If we create space in which God can act and speak, something surprising will happen. You and I are called to these (three) disciplines if we want to be disciples.
Here at The Contemplative Activist, we’ve taken Nouwen’s terminology for Jesus’ three key disciplines (solitude, community, and ministry) and simplified them into a memorable trio we affectionately call the 3-C’s…
(C)ommunion with Christ.
(C)ommunity with others.
(C)ommission into our world.
Join us next time as we unpack these 3-C disciplines a bit more as we close this 37-session blog series we affectionately call Iggy’s Biggies.
My prayer: Jesus, I readily admit that my Christian life has been much like Henri Nouwen’s where I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get things done for God before I ever asked for help from others, or even prayed! Master, it’s time for a radical change, time to re-order my life for the greater glory of God. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me to live my Christian life as Nouwen suggests, in Communion with Christ, followed by Community with others, and then going out in Your Commission into our world. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: “If we create space in which God can act and speak, something surprising will happen.” So, when was the last time I took Henri Nouwen’s advice and simply held open an empty space for God, where He can act and speak? What busy-ness in my life prevents me from holding space like this for God? What would it look like for me today to practice the discipline of silence and solitude, for the greater glory of God?
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.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!
Click here to go on to the next blog/podcast in this series…