Over the next few weeks, this series, “Called and Listening” will pull from some of my writings on Ignatian discernment wisdom to help you hear God’s calls for your life and answer them. Today, we start with “where are you now” and pausing to hear where there is currently restlessness in your life.
Our dog, Hershey, has an intuition when something is off in our home. We notice this because she gets restless and paces back and forth. Her ears perk up at an unknown noise that intrigues her. Other times, her ears lay back when she feels danger is near, like a stranger approaching our front door. Sometimes, she simply pauses mid-run and intently listens and observes what is going on around her.
Hershey’s restlessness is my wake-up call to notice what’s going on around our home. Like my sweet furry friend’s intuition to pay attention, when we feel restless, it is God’s wake-up call inviting us to pay attention to what is going on within us.
St. Ignatius’ Rules of Discernment:
One of St. Ignatius’ gifts to us today is his discernment wisdom. What Ignatius first noticed while laying on a bed recovering from an injury caused by a cannonball was the way God, through the Holy Spirit, serves as a guide to discerning what the cause of our restlessness might be and what might remedy the restlessness we feel.
St. Ignatius teaches us to pay attention when we fill restless and notice if it’s the Holy Spirit encouraging us forward on our path of faith, or if it’s the evil spirit trying to keep us off a path in order to thwart growth in our relationship with God. Below are two rules of discernment from Ignatius that capture the movement of spirits within us:
- For those living a life of sin: “Those who are living life a sin: The Holy Spirit will rouse the sting of conscience and fill with remorse. The evil spirit will make you feel good to keep on living like this.” (Spiritual Exercises #314).
- For those on the path to service of God: “In the case of those who go on earnestly striving to cleanse their souls from sin and who seek to rise in the service of God our Lord…the Evil Spirit harasses and fills with anxiety, afflicts sadness, raises obstacles and do anything to disturb soul from pursuing life with God…..it is characteristic of the Holy Spirit to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, and inspirations and peace.” (Spiritual Exercises #315).
Actions This Week:
When we feel restless, God is getting our attention about something! The question is — what is it? Is the restlessness we feel the Holy Spirit making us feel remorseful or waking us up to sinful choices that do not lead us further along the path of God? Or is it the evil spirit’s attempt to stump us or keep us from continuing on the path of God?
This week, I simply invite you to notice if God’s got your ears perked up about anything happening within you. Do you feel restless? What is God saying to you about it?
- Deut 30:11-20// God puts before us the choice of life or death
- 1 Kings 3: 1-15// “You asked for discernment to know what is right”
- Psalm 107: 4-9// The Lord answers our call when we feel we do not have a path
- Eph 5: 8-20// Life as children of the light
Iniviting You Deeper as We Walk with Christ:
- Starting October 17: Exploring Ignatius: Ignatian Spirituality for the Busy Person Course at Immaculate Conception in Denham Springs (October 17, 24; November 7, 14) More info here. Register here.
- Starting October 22: 6 week study of my book, Busy Lives and Restless Souls, with the Archdiocesean Spirituality Center, Archdicoese of New Orleans (Tuesday, Oct. 22, 29, Nov 5, 12, 19, 26) at 10:00 – 11:30 am or 7:00 – 8:30 pm, St. Peter’s Lacour Center, Reserve. More info here.
- October 23: Women of the Well Fall Day of Reflection: “Is It You, God?” Cultivating Space to Hear God’s Voice in the Busyness, 9:30am-2:30pm at St. Gabriel Catholic Church, St. Gabriel, LA. Register here.
- November 11: Holy Rosary Women’s Night, Making Room in the Busyness, St. Amant, LA. More info here.
- Sign up for my Prayer Team and pledge to pray for the weekly prayer requests posted on my Facebook & Instagram, and for the attendees of upcoming events. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.