What is it that can be found in everything
Motto of St. Ignatius, who sums up his spirituality: God is active and present in everything, he "embraces us through reality" (Willi Lambert), i.e. through everything we experience and not through ideas, thoughts, ideals, beautiful feelings, ...
M. a. W .: we don't need to break out of our everyday life to encounter it, e.g. B. in a church, during choir prayer or at mass; he is no less close to me in the kitchen than in front of my computer, in a strenuous meeting, in front of my class, ...
In order to discover this presence, of course, one needs formal prayer and the life of the Church, but above all practice with the prayer of loving attention, which invites a contemplative view of life.
1. Three preconditions
a) 1st step: come to me, collect myself, become calm, be with me.
Augustine: "ab exterioribus ad interiora", d. H. To get out of everyday stress, to be able to leave worries and appointments, projects, etc. behind me in order to be attentive to God in the calm of heart and mind.
At the group meeting, the arriving group can take on this function: I share my own current state of mind in order to be free inside and to be able to listen to the others well.
Biblical: Listen = go in search of God; I can only hear his voice when I distance myself from myself and my activities, when I orient myself towards him and his word, which is usually only "a gentle, quiet whisper", a "nothing of the wind" no storm , great fire or earthquake (cf. (1 Kings 19: 11-13).
b) Ignatius offers a second help in discovering the traces of God in my life: internally tasting. "It is not that much knowledge that saturates and satisfies the soul, but rather feeling and tasting things inwardly." (GÜ, 2) When looking back at my experience, it depends on what touched me, what protrudes from everyday life and has a special quality in the memory. So be mindful of what makes me happy, happy and cheerful, or busy, worries, raises questions. It can be something very inconspicuous: a word, an encounter, a thought that appeared out of nowhere, a question or concern that quietly speaks out. How does a situation or person affect me and why? What does this experience tell me?
= Stage of the reflection; Augustine: "ab interioribus ad superiora"
Biblical: “Mary kept everything that had happened in her heart” (Lk 2.51). So do not compulsorily unwind the film of my whole day in personal review or in the listening group, tell everything that happened to me unfiltered, but tell my attention To focus on what has touched me and to feel / think why that is the case. Just as a gold washer does not look carefully at all the stones in his sieve, but rather concentrates on those that shine like gold.
c) With the Look of faith Learn to recognize and interpret the signs of God's presence in my life: God is not the direct cause of everything that happens to me, but he is by my side, looking for me in everything I experience. When everyday life seems banal, boring and, as a repetition, always the same, we fail to recognize that God's love constantly accompanies us, seeks us and often precedes us. It is a matter of rediscovering this love in faith every evening in review of the day, to find God's closeness and tenderness in the gray everyday work. Through memory we can become aware of such moments as gifts from God.
- Too often our actions are determined by what we think we have to do; behind this there can be an unfree urge / compulsion to reach goals that we have set for ourselves without asking whether they are in accordance with God's will. Result: activism.
- We can also be guided mainly by our (Christian) convictions, which is in itself beautiful and good, but involves the danger of acting stubbornly without regard to our constitution and limits and those of others. Result: fanaticism.
For Ignatius, our actions should differ from the gratitude Let it be derived from: a loving response to the consciously perceived love of God in our lives, a free response that tries to avoid the dangers of selfishness, the exercise of power, envy or resentment. Our life is a way with God and towards God: “en todo amar y servir”.
2. How can I experience God's love in everyday life?
In the "contemplation to gain love" (GÜ 230-237) Ignatius shows four ways to recognize God's loving work in our life. These paths form the basis of loving attention prayer.
The first thing to do is to convince yourself and to believe that God loves us and wants to share his love with us: “Love consists in communication from both sides, namely in the fact that the lover gives to the beloved and communicates what he has or can do; and vice versa the beloved to the lover. " (231)
a) “To recall the blessings received of creation, salvation, and special gifts, as I longingly ponder how much God our Lord has done for me and how much he has given me of what he has, and how further the Lord wishes to give himself to me as much as he can. "
M.a.W .: the creation is not a historical date in the distant past, but an action that still affects me personally today: God created me and gave me life, I owe myself to his love, without which I would not exist. And it keeps me alive, it protects and hides me, leads me to more and more life and development. Jesus also gave his life for me in order to free me and all other people from the slavery of sin and to lead me to being whole and whole. And in the end my talents can be traced back to him; I can also think back to concrete experiences and events where I recognized the hand of God. God wants to give himself to me as much as he can, even in the smallest details of my everyday life!
b) “See how God dwells in everything created: in the elements, plants and trees, animals and people, by giving them being, animating them, allowing them to be perceived, giving them understanding. And so he also lives in me: by letting me exist, animating me, making me perceive and understand, by making a temple out of me, since I was created in the likeness and image of God. "
While walking through nature, while lingering in a beautiful landscape, in front of a bouquet of flowers, I can stand fascinated and let myself be touched. The garden, the spring, the companionship with pets can open me to the wonder of creation. The smile of a toddler, his growth and discovery of the world, how his character slowly emerges, how young people discover their personality, how other people reveal qualities that delight or astonish me, in all of this I can recognize God's presence. And how I was able to master my day myself, how I experience joy and satisfaction about my work, how encounters enrich me, I can trace back to God, who lets me have a part in his life and his love.
Ps 139: 13-14: “You created my inner being, you woven me in my mother's womb. I thank you for making me so wonderful. I know: Your works are amazing. "(Fr .:" merveille que je suis, merveille que tes œuvres ")
c) "Consider how God strives and works for me in all created things on the face of the earth, that is, 'behaves in the manner of a worker". "
cf. Rom 8: 21-22: “Creation too is to be freed from slavery and forlornness for the freedom and glory of the children of God. Because we know that all of creation sighs and is in labor pangs to this day. "
In every effort and difficulty I can also recognize Christ as the “redeemer”, who today still bears his cross and struggles so that the whole world arrives at the freedom and glory that was promised it from the beginning. I can experience myself at his side in these troubles and troubles. And even my disappointments, my tiredness and weariness after a difficult conversation or a laborious meeting, my displeasure and dissatisfaction, my worries and fears about what is happening in the world, church and society I can classify in the mystery of creation, which is still a long way off of perfection. There Christ continues to suffer and work; Giving everyday life this deeper meaning can give me new courage and the willingness to continue to work with the coming of the kingdom of God.
d) “See how all goods and gifts descend from above, such as my measured power from the highest and infinite from above, and just as justice, goodness, kindness, mercy, etc., just as the rays descend from the sun, from the spring the waters , etc. "
All encounters one day, all work and commitment can therefore refer me to the one who has blessed me and all others with many gifts. In retrospect, I can thank God for this and worship God in these his gifts, which always bring his goodness and love to my eyes anew. cf. examples sub b): all human qualities, including my own, can lead me to perceive God by leading them back like rays to the sun or water to the source.
3. Not an end in itself!
Searching for and finding God in everything is not an end in itself. It is more about letting me revitalize myself through gratitude and the believing, amazed perception of his presence. What answer do I want to give? The believing contemplation of everyday life strengthens my faith, hope and love. Perceiving how the Lord is close to me and other people, how He walks by our side, gives me strength and enthusiasm for my life. I can and want to respond to this love with my love: take responsibility freely and get involved again, even in the difficult and unpleasant. Gratitude frees me inside and aligns me with the future and my fellow human beings. This is the ultimate point of daily review!
A few things could be said here about the reality of sin, which opposes the work of God, also in me. Looking back, it is also about getting on the track of my wrong attachments, lack of freedom, compulsions, bad decisions, etc. There God is not at work, but dark forces in me or from outside. Perceiving this helps to say yes to light and life and no to darkness and death or everything that leads to it in everyday life. Another chapter!
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