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Growing in spiritual devotion through our relationships with others

It is important for the busy Christian, to “find God in all things.” St. Ignatius surprisingly even says that this is easier than more abstract prayer or meditation. This is the goal, but how, more practically, does one achieve this?

His answer is concrete and surprising. Here we look at what Ignatius says in the Jesuit Constitutions #250. He suggests that one way to start is by reflecting on our relationship with others. Here is what Ignatius writes:

“In everything they should try and desire to give the advantage to others, esteeming them in their hearts as better than themselves [Phil 2:3], and showing them exteriorly, in an unassuming and simple religious manner, the respect and reverence befitting each one’s state in such a manner that by observing one another, they grow in devotion and the praise of God our Lord, whom each one should endeavor to recognize as in His image.”

In this way, beginning with our brothers and sisters, by reverencing, respecting, seeing and find-ing God in them, we expand and grow in seeking, seeing, finding God in all things.

This concept reminds us of the eighth step of the “Way of the Heart,” where it is explained how “We are invited to make our own the Father’s loving gaze upon humanity and to act with the Heart of Jesus Christ. We are sent out to the margins of human life in different ways, together with his Son. We are sent to the places where men and women are suffering injustice, to help heal and support the brokenhearted.”

Our daily encounters with persons should not be a distraction, but part of our seeking, sensing, and finding God in all things. I hope this Ignatian view of devotion and growth in the devout life that we have presented be one of the important building blocks in our parishes and in the Church today.

- Fr. Peter Schineller, SJJogues Retreat Center
Cornwall, NY (USA)

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