For 239 days I made space in my daily routine for this spiritual practice that tens of thousands of people have journeyed over the centuries. And this weekend it came to a less-than-exciting-fizzling end.
This morning was a big day for me. This morning I concluded something called The Ignatian Exercises. The Exercises were developed by St. Ignatius in the 1500’s as a practice for those considering entering the priesthood though his order, the Jesuits. No, I’m not looking to become a priest, but the Exercises continue on as a spiritual practice in the journey of faith.
There are numerous versions of the Exercises from a week-long retreat, 40 day journey, and more, and all versions are a rigorous walk through the birth, life and ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
This morning I concluded with day 239 of this daily practice. For 8 months I have been walking in this practice.
For 239 days I spent time in Ignatius’ guide for reading scripture, prayer, and journaling. For 239 days I made space in my daily routine for this spiritual practice that tens of thousands of people have journeyed over the centuries. And this weekend it came to a less-than-exciting-fizzling end.
My time with the Ignatian Exercises fizzled rather than finishing with a bang. In the midst of a chaotic weekend of activity, house guests, concerts for my daughter and irregular schedule, my time with the Exercises whimpered to a close. Instead of feeling a mountaintop ending of victory and celebration, instead I closed my journal entry with a tired moment of pause.
I think that’s a metaphor of our faith journey to be honest.
Life is chaotic and busy no matter what you may try to do to make it something different. These Ignatian Exercises were designed originally for those entering the priesthood who had dedicated their entire daily lives to prayer and scripture. Not many find themselves at that place today. And yet we can still make the space to pause and be present to God.
Regardless of the highs and lows of faith, and independent of any emotion (or lack of it), it’s important to consistently present ourselves to God; to be present to God in prayer, silence, listening, or rest. It’s important to do that daily, moment by moment. There may be days of that which are mountaintop sorts of moments, and there may be days that are far more valley lows. Top, bottom, or somewhere in the middle of our journey doesn’t matter as long as we have made the space for the moments.
God is in the fizzle, too.
My 239 days of the Exercises fizzled to an end, but every day of that chaos included space for God, and I offered my time as a gift to God. Even if it was fizzle and not a bang, I think that gift was received by God. I think that’s important to remember each day of our journey.