This month many Catholics are observing a call to 31 Days with St. Ignatius of Loyola it is a powerful way to add daily prayer to your life. However, what works for many may not work for you so I am sharing a prayer tool with an Ignatian twist, because it works for me and might work for you too!
Courtesy Ignatian Spirituality Website
I am constantly seeking opportunities to experience more spirituality in my daily life and my personality is very ordered. So, when numbers are associated with ways to be spiritual it is really appealing to me. Think about it whenever you are scrolling through articles or posts that taut that you can do this in “5 easy ways” or what ever the number is - it’s limited in time. That’s one of the reasons I love “Novenas” - just nine days, 9 weeks or 9 months in my ordered mind is doable.
While 31 is a much bigger number it’s really a number of “one” month. We can do anything for a month right? I mean every January the fitness industry banks on people coming in to join the gym and they know as they move through the year people will cancel memberships. The first month there is an intoxicating belief that it is a time of new beginnings, hopeful outcomes and a whole new year to get goals done.
Then life happens and the inebriation of the new year wears off - making us soberly aware of the reality of our personal limitations. Last year I asked my pastor how do you turn on your spirituality every day? Of course, priests do the hours as a part of their daily living. It’s a practice that they cultivate in formation and it becomes a habitual practice - it takes a lot of time though. Time I simply don’t have! So his suggestion for a busy person like me was to say the Angelus every day. It worked for the first six months to kind of ground me daily, but then it just became something to check off my daily to do list.
Now I have a spiritual adviser and he shared an app to help me tap into spirituality. He suggested a Jesuit designed app called “Pray As You Go” - love it! It combines different genre’s of music for meditation and the reading and reflection of the reading of the day. This is super powerful for me. Putting my earbuds in and immersing myself into this spiritual cave for just eleven minutes really helps me to be more mindful of a more spiritually based plan for me each day. It is remarkable that the scripture everyday resonates with something I am grappling with in my contemporary life.
pray as you go website
The other thing that is really inspiring me to focus on spirituality daily is reading about the life of the saints. This month and last month I started reading about the lives of St. Marianne and St. Damien who served the Hawaiian people afflicted with Hansen’s Disease. I am speaking about how they would have used technology today at the Damien and Marianne Conference and really needed to know more about the way they lived their lives in the 1800’s. Their very lives were a testament to living our faith and inspired so many to become Catholic. In the 2000’s we are struggling with remembering to practice social justice and for me the stories of these great Saints remind me of how important it is to be more involved with our modern day issues, like homelessness, mental illness, opioid addiction and racism.
At the very least during my morning meditation I can pray for all those people who are marginalized in our world. School is starting for many districts this month and I hope that teachers, parents and students will find time every morning to spend time in prayerful reflection, meditation and conversation with God for what he would have you do each day.
My reflection today inspired me to write this blog and hopefully this month you will find inspiration too to do what God is calling you to do!