Ignatian Wisdom #10: Contemplative in Action–Part II

October 18, 2011

Last week, I shared Margaret Silf’s image of an oil lamp in describing being a contemplative in actionfound in her book Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for Everyday Living.  Silf says, “”One end of the wick needs to be permanantly immersed in the resovoir of oil. The other end needs to be sufficiently extended into the ‘world’ to be capable of being ignited” (p. 93).Both ends of the wick are important.  Last week, we talked about the end immersed in the oil. 

The other end of the wick, however, extends out into the world, ready to be lit and ready to share its light with others.  This part of the wick speaks to the “action” piece of being a contemplative in action.  Our invitation is to extend ourselves out into the real world, where our lives exist, and share our light with others.  This is how we are Christ in the world.  As Silf says, “Our ‘wick’ needs to be very much out there and willing to be ignited and burned down over the years” (p. 94).  If we want to continue to do this, we must remain rooted in prayer so that the fruits of prayer continue to seep up our core and out into the world. 

Discerning what our action is to be is the harder part, and figuring out how exactly we are called to share our light can also be challenging at times.  This is when we realize that why we need both ends of the wick– prayer and action.  One cannot continue to exist without the other. 

What is your call to be Christ for others?  How are you living it out? 
What, if anything, do you need to discern in prayer in terms of your call to action? 
How have you experienced the power of God sustaining you in your action through your prayer life?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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