Tag Archives: Ignatius of Loyola

Where is our security

“Being poor of heart: that is holiness.”
Pope Francis

cross-foucauldIn his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate – Rejoice and Be Glad, Pope Francis devotes a large section to reflections on each of the beatitudes.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

The opening line of his reflection (67) sets the tone: “The Gospel invites us to peer into the depths of our heart, to see where we find our security in life.”

The question is: Where do we find our security?

If it is in wealth, we will fall apart and feel totally meaningless when it is threatened or when we find ourselves stretched financially. I dare say that this may be one of the problems rampant in the United States today and so the other, the migrant, is perceived as a threat.

Wealth can bring self-satisfaction, warns Pope Francis, so much so that “we leave no room for God’s word, for the love of our brothers and sisters, or for the enjoyment of the most important things in life. In this way, we miss out on the greatest treasure of all” (68).

But if we have a poor heart, “the Lord can enter with his perennial newness.”

As one formed in the spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola, Pope Francis links this beatitude with “holy indifference.” Citing St. Ignatius, he cites part of paragraph 23 of the Spiritual Exercises:

“…it is necessary to make us indifferent to all created things, in regard to everything which is left to our free will and is not forbidden, in such a way that, for our part, we not seek health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on in all other matters, wanting and choosing only that which leads more to the end for which we are created.”

If our end is love – praising, reverencing, and serving God – then all is put into perspective and we can face everything, confident in the security of a loving God.

“Being poor of heart: that is holiness.”


The translation of paragraph 23 Spiritual Exercises is by George E. Ganss, S.J., as cited in The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times by the late Father Dean Brackley, S.J.

Meeting Christ

Last week we had an assembly of catechists in the rural parish where I am helping. Many of these have very limited formal education and several cannot read, but they devote themselves to passing on the faith to children and young people.

One of the challenges they face is the pedantic nature of education here in Honduras. They are ingrained with the idea that education means memorizing, knowing things. Imagination is often at a premium.

This means that people here are often taught about Christ – but not formed in how we might encounter Christ. There are lots of prayers – but do they lead to Christ?

To offer an alternative way of praying, we offered an adaptation of Ignatian contemplation.

After some breathing exercise to center ourselves, we invited them to picture themselves at one of their daily tasks. Suddenly Jesus is present where they are. What do they want to tell him? What does he say to them?

The experience was moving. In near complete silence –interrupted only by infants walking around – the catechists took time to open themselves to encountering Christ for themselves.

I’m planning on trying this in a slightly different form in other meetings with catechists – especially helping them to pray Gospel stories imaginatively.

This comes from the Ignatian tradition – found especially in the Spiritual Exercises.

This morning I came across this prayer of Father Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the Father General of the Jesuits who died on February 5, 1991. It provides an example of how one might begin to pray in this fashion.

Teach me your way of looking at people:
as you glanced at Peter after his denial,
as you penetrated the heart of the rich young man
and the hearts of your disciples.

I would like to meet you as you really are,
since your image changes those with whom you come in contact.


The prayer is taken from Hearts on Fire: Praying with  Jesuits, a collection of  prayers published by Loyola Press which I find very helpful.