Ignatian Wisdom #9: Contemplative in Action –Part I

October 11, 2011

This weekend I directed a retreat for college students with Mark Mossa, SJ at Ignatius House in Atlanta.  Our closing talk was on Community and Christ in the World.  I shared with the retreatants an image that Margaret Silf uses in her book Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for Everyday Living.  The image Silf uses to describe being a Contemplative in Action is one of an oil lamp.  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). 

This image captures the essence of what it means to be a contemplative in action.  Like the end of the wick immersed in the oil, we immerse ourselves in a life of prayer and in a life of God.  As we stay immersed this way, our entire beings soak up the fruits of our prayer, just the way the oil makes its way up to the end of the wick sticking out of the oil.  It is only after some “soaking” that our wick is ready to be lit.

The invitation for all of us is to keep our lives “permanently immersed in God.

Who helps you keep one end of your wick immersed in prayer and in God?
What do you do or need to do to keep your wick immersed in God?

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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