The Battle of Prayer & St. Ignatius

You haven’t heard from us in almost two months, but when we promised that our blogs would be infrequent, we meant it.  In addition to two trips this summer to New Hampshire (the White Mountains, a great spot!) and Vermont respectively, we have been hard at work on the seventh draft of our script.  If our story makes people laugh as well as cry, then the truth we’re trying to convey will more likely reach their hearts.

When it’s ready, we’ll re-submit the draft to the producer in California, who has expressed a strong interest in it.  We don’t know if his studio will be the one that eventually produces the movie.  Only time… and the Good Lord will tell.   Please pray for this, won’t you?  This project has been twelve years in the making, and we pray that now may finally be the time of reckoning.

OUR “GUEST BLOG”

Last month, a friend of ours from Michigan, emailed us a reflection he had written, which we found as wise as it is inspirational.  In the hope that you have the same reaction, and with his permission, we present Joe Campbell, our guest blogger for today;

St Ignatius of Loyola                                                                        —   by  Rubens

 ” On Sunday I was kneeling before the Lord in the adoration chapel.   A New Testament commentary on Revelations was in my pew.  The book looked attractive to me but I felt the Lord said to me:  “Think about relationship, not this commentary”.   So I began to ponder the word relationship.  Immediately I was reminded of Ignatius Loyola whose teachings I have been studying in three books by Fr. Timothy Gallagher (go here, for his podcast series).  I was struck that relationship summarizes in one word what Ignatius sought to teach us.  Ignatius teachings point to his goal, namely, our relationship with the Lord.   All that we can think and say and do Ignatius would remind us needs to be done as consciously as possible for the Lord.

“In the Sunday gospel of August 23rd, speaking to his apostles, Jesus says: “Will you also leave me?  Peter responds with: “To whom shall we go?”(John 6:68)  Both Jesus’ question and Peter’s response is about their relationship.  I am a disciple of Jesus not because I know what he teaches, however important his teachings are.  I am his true disciple if I am nurturing a relationship with him.  At one point in his teachings Ignatius says: “it is not much knowing that fills and satisfies the soul, but rather the feeling and tasting of things interiorly.”  Notice Ignatius does not focus upon Christ’s teachings but rather on our relationship with Jesus.  The feelings and things we taste interiorly are the fruit of our relationship with Jesus.

“How do we come to recognize these interior movements?  The key is for us to work at resisting our habit of being focused upon exterior things.  As we work at being attentive to our interior life, we begin to discover and become attracted to “the feeling and tasting of things interiorly”.  This discovery is the door to developing our relationship with Jesus.  Without developing this relationship our discipleship becomes like the Pharisees ‘dedication’ to God.  As God, in Christ, spoke to the pharisees they did not recognize him.  In fact, they plotted and succeeded in killing Jesus.  Yet the Pharisees were very knowledgeable in the Law.  They heard Jesus voice but didn’t recognize him.  Why?  Because they did not have a relationship with God who they claimed to serve.

“As we become aware of the movement of the Spirit in our heart, we can’t resist loving him.  His movement in our heart is a movement of love that compels us to respond in love.  Then why is it that so often we don’t discover this movement of love in our heart?  Ignatius spends a lot of time teaching us how to discover God’s movement of love in our heart.  But all the teaching in the world by Ignatius or anyone else will not work if we don’t do “much examination” of what is going on in our heart, that is, becoming an interior person.  In addition to the Lord’s loving movement there is also the movement of the evil one who is at work attempting to destroy our relationship with God.  We cannot recognize the good spirit’s loving movement in our heart unless we identify and resist the movement of the evil one in our heart.

“The first and foremost battlefield for all of us is not in the outside world, but the internal world we discover in our heart.  A standard method of the evil one to undermine our relationship with the Lord is to distract us with focusing upon the evils in the world in order to stir up anxiety in us which, if embraced, will distract us from the necessary challenge of addressing the battle within our own heart.”

 -Joe Campbell can be reached at jc6601@gmail.com
Glenn’s Note; To read more about the “battle” that Joe refers to, see the Catholic Catechism,  P.  2725-45, “The Battle Of Prayer. The whole section on prayer, Part Four, will serve as an excellent introduction, as well as an ongoing guide for your interior life.