Ignatian Spirituality in 15 points
Brendan McManus SJ and Christine Halloran ran a six-week course via Zoom for Jesuit collaborators or employees. The course is part of the Peter Kenney SJ project to encourage the Ignatian formation of lay associates.
Christine is a spiritual director and pastoral volunteer at Gardiner Street in Dublin, and Brendan is a writer and spiritual director in Belfast. They are both members of the Irish Jesuit Province Ignatius 500 committee which has organised a series of events for the anniversary including this course.
Their goal was to deliver a Zoom course over 6 weeks that allows Jesuit collaborators to learn Ignatian tools that would help them reflect on their personal and professional situations. They were introduced to Ignatian Spirituality through the exploration of significant events in the founder of the Jesuit’s life. In this way, Brendan and Christine were able to communicate the basic Ignatian concepts of ‘reflection’, ‘consolation and desolation, ‘discernment’, ‘freedom from’ and ‘freedom for’ and the Examen prayer, so important to St Ignatius.
The course was based on Brendan’s recent book, Channelling the Inner Fire. The book synthesizes the Ignatian system into 15 easy-to-understand concrete dimensions. “Participants were given the tools to uncover the subtle messages that God is communicating to us, to be in dynamic relationship with God, and engaged with the world,” says Brendan.
In many ways the course was like a retreat, he adds, noting that participants were invited to use the Examen prayer at the beginning of the course and were subsequently asked how it was impacting their lives and making them more aware?
Christine began each session with a short guided meditation that participants greatly appreciated. Often it was a chance to make the space that would allow people to tune into themselves and their feelings, and reflect on their lives.
There was also a chance for group sharing in small breakout rooms. Brendan says this type of sharing is an Ignatian technique that helps people verbalise their experiences by creating a supportive and protected listening space. “The group members helped each other to grow and integrate the Ignatian techniques into their lives. Some people reported that it helped them a lot in becoming more aware of the Ignatian ‘movements’ and especially in terms of making better decisions.” he concludes.