Welcome to the third week of the Ignatius and Me series! In honor of the feast of St Ignatius, which is coming up on July 31st, I’ve asked some friends to write about what Ignatian spirituality means to them in their daily lives. Each week will look at a different principle or prayer of Ignatian Spirituality, introduced with an excerpt from my book, Busy Lives and Restless Souls and then followed by a friend’s personal interpretation.
From Busy Lives & Restless Souls:
St. Ignatius offers us another way to notice and name the real center
of life, and it is called the colloquy. In this prayer, we are invited to
imagine ourselves at the foot of Jesus’ cross and to pray with three
1. What have I done for Christ?
2. What am I doing for Christ?
3. What ought I do for Christ?
When I prayed with these three questions during my time of making
the Spiritual Exercises, I was able to see what choices and things I had
done for Christ and what things I had done out of another motivation—
maybe my own ego, my desire to be a people pleaser, or my
fear of conflict. It allowed me to name the areas of my life that were
already being lived out of my relationship with Christ, and I began
to get clear on what specific task Christ was calling me to do.
This week, my dear friend and ministry colleague, Stephanie Coualtre Davis, shares about the Triple Colloquy. Follow Stephanie on Facebook at @sclouatredavis and on her website, speakingstephanie.com.
Has a conversation with a friend or family member ever given you clarity or support? A Colloquy is a conversation, a space in which conversations occur. In the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites the retreatants into a prayer which involves three conversations: first with Mary, then with Jesus, and finally with God (SpEx #62-63). Ignatius calls this prayer the Colloquy. To me, this prayer tool opens a door to a deeper conversation with God. I feel the winding and delving into a greater understanding of my desires as I speak first to Mary, then to Jesus, and then finally to God.
Just as a conversation repeated with different friends brings more and more clarity, the Colloquy brings me deeper and deeper into the desires of my heart. Ignatius invites us to approach Mary, Jesus, and God. As we approach each, we bring the desires of our heart and listen. Then, we ask three questions:
- What have I done for Christ?
- What am I doing for Christ?
- What ought I do for Christ?
Again, we listen for the answers that rise from our understanding.
These conversations open up our innermost desires for true intimacy with God. I pray this prayer when things are muddy in my mind, when I am making a decision, or when I am seeking to lean in closer to God for greater intimacy.
Pausing long enough in each conversation to hear God, I engage deliberately in each conversation, allowing each to speak to me in their own unique way. Mary’s voice gives me a gentle support as only a mother might, while as brother, Jesus speaks shoulder to shoulder to me, looking out into the world. These two conversations provide food for my soul as I approach God, the Creator, who created and continues to call me by name. With the Colloquy, I see my worries or desires change, mutate, and become more fixed or malleable, allowing the prayer to give rise to solutions, comfort, and understanding inside of myself.
The prayer allows me to seek the “magis” or the more. When I give room for only my own understanding, I feel limited or even trapped. When I engage in these three conversations, freedom increases as new understandings, solutions, and desires take form.
Sometimes when my spirit is full of anxiety or clutter, I engage in imaginary prayer within the Colloquy. I imagine Mother Mary, the details of her dress and her face sitting in front of me. I imagine watching how her face and posture change as I speak my prayer to her. Then, I become very quiet and let her words be whispered to me.
I repeat the same with Jesus and then with God. I imagine their embodiment in detail, giving strength and weight to their presence. Sometimes the conversation comes to life with words; while, at other times, I am flooded with feelings or images. I allow Mary, Jesus, and God to speak to me as they desire.
- Read my Listening for God in Colloquy and What Ought I do for Christ
- Read Conversing with Mary through Colloquy and Colloquy: Conversing with God from IgnatianSpirituality.com
Cultivating Space for God Together:
- I’ll be in Atlanta on August 17 for the Atlanta Catechist Conference
- Join me for a Silent Women’s Retreat August 22-25th near Baton Rouge, LA
- Are you already looking to the Fall? Save the date for the upcoming Online Busy Person’s Retreat, the retreat that comes to you with one-on-one online spiritual direction, September 23-26. Registration will open at the end of this month.
- 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.