Ready for Adventure
Kevin O’Brien, S.J. begins The Ignatian Adventure with these words:
As we’ve seen, Ignatius of Loyola as a young man left his family home in Spain to embark on an adventure that would transform countless lives, beginning with his own. Traveling across Europe and the Mediterranean, he would learn that the greatest adventures in life were not always geographic. The adventure that God had in store for Ignatius was about traveling the distance between the head and the heart and about inspiring in Ignatius bold, holy desires for God’s greater glory and the service of others.
The Furthest Journey
That distance between the head and the heart can often the furthest distance ever traveled. We live in a world where it is easy for many of us to catch a plane and travel halfway around the world at a moments notice. Travel that used to take days, even months, we now do in mere hours. Yet, that distance between the head and heart often remains worlds apart.
We may KNOW what is right, yet BELIVING those same things to the point where we are moved to action is often a different story. It is the difference between knowing something in your head and believing it within your heart.
I may know a truth about who God is. Until I believe it, that knowledge will do little to move me to act. The distance between head and heart is often the furthest journey we ever take in our lives.
Praying with Scripture
The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises are designed to help us travel that journey between head and heart. The Exercises are intended to help us pray with scripture, not study it.
That last sentence will cause many within our churches to gasp. We live within a culture where study and academic exercise is important and valued. To study something is to know it. Knowing is understanding. Understanding is important. It is often the one who “knows the most,” or demonstrates the “greatest understanding” that we look up to. Their demonstration of head knowledge is important and valuable. We are often so impressed with their display of knowledge we fail to ask, to see, if what they know has traveled that longest of journeys and pierced the heart.
Issues of the Heart
The Exercises help us with issues of the heart. They allow scriptures to travel that longest of journeys and pierce our heart.
This past week one of the Exercises had me meditating on Luke 12:22-34.
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Dan, Do Not Worry
The longer I spent with the passage the deeper it spoke. Eventually I started to write. I wrote, not what my head knew, but what my heart felt.
Do not worry about Cancer. Do not worry about medical bills. Do not worry about how your treatment is working. Can you add a single minute to your life by worrying?
Abba Father loves you, cares for you, and will provide your every need. Steward well the many blessings you have been given. Give to those who have need. Reach out to the least and the lost. Live in such a way that “captives are set free,” and those you meet “encounter Jesus in the midst of their everyday lives.”
Where is Your Worry?
Fear has a way of paralyzing us. It robs us of life, holds us captive. What is the source of worry in your life?
Take a moment and re-read the passage from Luke 12.
When you are done write your own “do not worry” message that speaks to the fear that holds you captive.
Welcome to the longest journey, the one from knowing to believing, from head to heart.