Prayer Practice A

Our lives unfold like an upward spiral in which we circle through periods of desolation and consolation which are described in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In this prayer practice we will affirm that God’s love continues to draw us upward in grace and holiness toward our God who is all light and HOPE.

Instructions

We tend to think of our lives as a straight line – starting with God in glory – continuing through this world – and one day our re-entry into the new world prepared for us by Christ. The journey is a path but is not a straight line. Our spiritual journey is much more like a spiral that loops upward. Please notice the line or rope on our HOPE Symbol Anchor which represents the cyclical movement of our lives as we go forth toward God.

Psychologically and spiritually we are always moving upward with God’s grace and with God’s help. We circle round and round in a cyclical way, but we are always ascending, being drawn forth toward God.

As our lives cycle round and round, we have times of joy, peace, generosity– we experience these positive emotions as times of light…. we can call these periods of light consolation.

At other times we are restless, unstable, anxious, angry, down– we call this a time of desolation.

Desolation and consolation are concepts that we receive from the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. He teaches how we cycle back and forth between desolation and consolation. Spirituality is paying attention to these patterns in our lives and inviting God to join us on this journey. We might think of it as moving from light to dark and back again in the way that we experience day and night or in the way that we experience the changing of the seasons.

To recognize this pattern or movement in our lives is a helpful observation on reality. We learn that we are in a constant state of change or flux. This movement from consolation to desolation, this traveling from light to dark and back is a spiral that gives us hope. Wherever we are on the upward spiral or cycle of our lives we can apply the tools for HOPE. Using the following Prayer Practice.

Description

In St. Paul’s First letter to the Corinthians Chapter 13, he writes an eloquent poem about love. You are invited to reflect on this passage in 2 ways. One way is to affirm God as love and the second is to affirm the love of God that dwells within us, defines us and draws us spiritually to places of consolation.

  • Prayerfully read the following passage aloud as it appears.
  • Prayerfully read the passage substituting the word love for your favorite name for God. For example, “Jesus is patient.”
  • Prayerfully read the following passage aloud and substitute “I” for the word love. While this particular affirmation may not always be true in every situation, we recognize that God’s own love has gifted us with all we need to be loving and to grow in love and in holiness. This affirmation confirms what God is doing in our lives and wishes to accomplish through our participation.
  • Thank God for these truths about yourself and then decide which one of these qualities of love you wish to express or demonstrate for another person. What action will you take?

Adaptation of St. Paul’s Hymn to Love – I Corinthians 13

Set your mind on the higher gifts of love.
  • Love is patient
  • Love is kind
  • Love is never jealous
  • Love is not boastful or conceited
  • Love is never rude and never seeks its own advantage
  • Love does not take offense or store up grievances
  • Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing
  • Love finds joy in the truth
  • Love is always ready to make allowances
  • Love is always ready to trust
  • Love is always ready to hope
  • Love is always ready to endure whatever comes
  • Love never comes to an end
For ever and ever these remain… faith, hope and love, and the greatest of them is Love.