As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve started my journey through The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language, written by Thomas A Kempis and updated by James N. Watkins. And as I also noted, the original version had a significant impact on The Jesuits founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. The lessons inspired him to compile his own spiritual disciplines. They are about going deeper in our daily faith practices and enriching our faith.
These lessons are still inspiring others in the 21st Century. One such believer, Karen Beattie, discovered these spiritual disciplines when she started taking a closer look at some of the most recognizable Christians in history who practiced daily spiritual disciplines. She was desperately trying to find God in the details of her life when she discovered them during a church retreat. What she learned changed her view of her daily walk with God, and her life.
This is how she outlines the steps you can take daily to see your life more clearly, and help you to live more intentionally.
Become aware of God’s presence by looking back on the events of the day. Ask God to give you clarity and understanding.
Review your day with gratitude by focusing on the day’s gifts. Notice the small things—God is in the details.
Pay attention to your emotions. St. Ignatius believed that we detect the presence of God in the movements of our emotions. By reflecting on our feelings we can become more aware of ways God is leading us.
Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to something during the day that God thinks is particularly important.
Look toward tomorrow. Ask God to give you light for tomorrow’s challenges. Seek God’s guidance. Ask him for help and understanding. Pray for hope.
After practicing these disciplines, Beattie was able to see God in everything—both the simple and the complex; the joy and the heartache. The disciplines help you stay alert to God and not overlook what she calls “God moments”.
If they draw you closer to God and help you live a more intentional life, focused on Him, then I think they are worth trying. One alert, though: While I think being in tune to your emotions is important, they can often misguide you. My recommendation would be to dismiss any emotions that contradict God’s word. If in doubt, seek a spiritual mentor, pastor, knowledgeable friend, or accountability partner for answers.
And along with praying for hope, pray for an extra measure of faith and love. These are the three attributes that our Christianity ultimately boils down to, and of the three, love is the greatest.
*For Beattie’s entire post, go to http://forher.aleteia.org/articles/praying-daily-examen/
Ignatius’s disciplines are just one of many spiritual discipline outlines found today. Google the topic Spiritual Disciplines to learn more and see what is available for your reading.
Until next Monday, may your week be full of blessings that you receive and give, your heart be full of joy and thankfulness, and your days be filled with laughter! Build a little heaven in your life right now, and watch your heavenly garden grow!
When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on earth. ~ A. W. Tozer
*Note: While I do not agree with all of the theology found on the For Her site, there are pearls to be found there.