It’s been nine months since I started praying the scriptures through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. As many of you can attest, a lot has happened in our lives in these nine months. Babies have been born, surgeries have taken place, the deaths of family members have happened… and yet life has gone on. We have celebrated and cried together. And God has been with us!
I have grown in my love for the Lord in these months through the daily practice of reading Scripture. I have enjoyed being close to Jesus and sharing life with him. Each day I ask for God’s grace to know and experience Jesus in new and different ways. It’s been a journey of discovery – of choosing a way of life that opens me up to the presence of God, where my truest desires live.
I am learning that this is how spiritual transformation happens! I cannot transform myself or anyone else. I can only create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place in my life. I’ve developed and maintained a rhythm of practices that opens me up and makes me available to God. In Christian tradition, a structured arrangement of spiritual practices is referred to as “a rule of life.” Another phrase that Ruth Haley Barton, author of Sacred Rhythms, uses for this concept in her book is “spiritual rhythms.” How do I want to live so I can be who I want to be? As I’ve learned different disciplines, I’ve been able to put them together in a way that works for me. No two people are alike, so your “rule of life” will match your personality and your season of life.
My rule of life is very simple these days. My daily rhythm is solitude and silence in the morning. This includes silence moving into prayer with words and journaling, reflecting on Scripture. My weekly rhythm includes a commitment on Sunday as the sabbath; I rest, I exercise, I cook good food and enjoy it with friends. Monthly I set aside one day for Spiritual Direction and solitude. I share these examples as ideas. Each of us must find our own way to create a “rule of life” that fits with our situation.
Another crucial element of these nine months and my spiritual transformation has been sharing the experience with five other women. We have met six times and shared our lives. We have a Spiritual Director, who has been through the process several times, lead us in our discussions. Our relationships are intentionally focused on our relationship with God, as viewed through the lens of our deepest desires. We support one another in ways God is meeting us in our spiritual practices that help us to seek him. We cannot do this work alone. Seek out people in your faith community to do this work together.