When someone makes the Spiritual Exercises, the first few days (if making the thirty day version of the Exercises) or the first few weeks (if making the 19th annotation of the Spiritual Exercises, which happens over several months) will be spent reflecting on the gift of God’s creation and God’s faithful, unconditional love for us. Ultimately, we begin the retreat considering our core identity: we are beloved sons and daughters of God. Where the Spiritual Exercises open offers us our next piece of Ignatian Wisdom.
Bit of Ignatian Wisdom #2: God Loves Us As We Are
The values our culture often offer us in regards to our worthiness to receive love are counter to the gift of love God offers us. While it is one of the hardest things for us to accept, the simple fact is that God loves us as we are. There is no finish line for us to cross before we are worthy to receive God’s love. There is not a “five-step plan” that deems us ready to be loved. We are loved, right now, just as we are.
That means, even with all of the baggage we carry, all of the hurt and brokenness within us, all of the choices we regret making, none of this inhibit us from the gift of freely given, unearned love God gives us. This gift of God’s love is offered to every person. It means God is involved in our ongoing creation. God is near to us. God cares for us and loves us deeply.
No matter if we’ve made the Spiritual Exercises or not, a fundamental piece of Ignatian spirituality is that we are loved by God as we are right now in this moment. One of my favorite quotes that captures this comes from Fr. Joe Tetlow, a Jesuit currently residing here in the South:
“Here is the core truth about God as your Creator and Lord:
You are who God wants you to be. God loves you as you are– not as you might be or could be.
God loves you because you are who you are, for God is making you who you are.
When you know this, you have accepted the most intimate relationship with God that a busy life allows, a relationship that fills all things.”
- Reflection Series: This past Lent, I offered a series called Fully Loved: Encountering the Heart of God. It explored this “bit of Ignatian Wisdom” at length. Here are a few of the posts from this series:
Cultivating Space for God Together:
- August 24-27, 2017: Women’s Silent Ignatian Preached Retreat, Rosaryville Spirit-Life Center
- September 7, 2017: Opening Retreat for the Diocese of Baton Rouge Catechetical Leaders
- Online Busy Person’s Retreats: Learn more here!
- October 18, 2017: Women’s Day of Reflection: Who is the Author Of Your Life?