Fr. Gillick is a Jesuit and spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition, known as "The Exercises." You can find his writing here:
You may also wish to look at the Online Retreat in Everyday Life here:
Fr. Gillick first spoke of spirituality as Real Living. Living the tensions caused by our theology, and what we believe about God. Living in relationship to the God we will never understand because God is Mystery. "Trusting sucks" and we want clarity (a God-O-Gram), but what we get instead is spirituality.
Following are some Highlights:
The Exercises challenge and address our Image of God.
The nature of God is to reveal God's self to you "according to you." This is essential to our spirituality. We don't "go to God." We come to ourselves.
Ignatius asks, "Who am I? Who are these others? What are the things around me?"
It's important to pay attention and to know what delights us and attracts us. God comes to us where we are: How am I usually found? What finds me? How much have I been attentive to the aggressive love of God and God's activities?
"God will never give you anything that will make God obsolete. God keeps giving you things that make God necessary. Everything God gives us has an embedded invitation to trust God and to trust Life."
Everything Has a Hole In It.
Everything will disappoint me. We get mad at anything that won't deliver what we want. We ask for infinity from the finite. We ask for completion from what will let us down. As long as I am longing for the infinite, everything will give me a certain amount of bad news.
I am finite. I will be disappointed in anything that reminds me that I am incomplete.
The object of the Exercises is freedom from the illusion of self-containment. The Gospels say the same thing.
And we will tend to move toward independence, self-containment, self-creation, and isolation because we can't stand the tension knowing this creates for us.
Everything becomes a soft discipline in that it will serve as a reminder, if we receive it.
I am a creature, and I am constantly being created. We are made to be co-creators with God because God is Love, and Love constantly creates.
At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is this: The Great Praise of God is our acceptance of our being creatures. The struggle is to say "thank you" for creating me as I am, so that I can enter into God's creation of myself. The Pattern of Grace will always move from gratitude for what is to sadness for the way I have responded to it (justice), to receipt of God's finding me, and a response of welcoming, even if it involves suffering. It is a pattern towards Freedom.
We are rooted in the goodness of God, reverential to God by being reverential to creation and in just relation to God. This is gratitude.
*How I live because I pray:
God's love for me makes "me" a "we."
We need to have a psychologically healthy spirituality.
Jesus doesn't take away self and give us another self. Jesus asks, "Can you return to your true self? Can you pray yourself to your essence? We all get out of focus, and knowing that about ourselves equals humility. What are the parts of my slavery? Honesty does not eventuate to negativity.
It's a butter knife, not a screw driver:
Sin is changing God's name for things and using them for my satisfaction.
When I violate myself I change God's name for me to my name for me. [Name for Jews in Egypt = "slave"--Name for Jews after the Exodus= "God's People"] Healing [forgiveness] is always from something, for something.
Admission: I have selfish patterns and I am not going to save myself.
MERCY is not litigious or judicial. In Hebrew, "mercy" comes from the root word "womb"--the mother's experience of being reverential towards the life within her and the life outside her; of forgiveness of her child. Mercy is biological, emotional, spiritual, relational.
What is it like to have grace [not for eternity, but] in my life right now?
Fr. Gillick, in speaking of the Mystery of God, referred to Keats's negative capability -- that we are indeed capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason. We are capable of remaining content with half knowledge.
And we should watch our daydreams. They will always lead us to something good about ourselves.
Jesus will always ask me to let go of what isn't me. Intimacy with Jesus allows me to be available especially to adventure and the unknown. Real Freedom = How do i deal with the unknown? Need is creative of revelation.
To not be in control is very helpful for a relationship with God.
And what we all loved hearing:
You cannot please God, you cannot displease God.
You cannot lose or earn God's favor. You can only lose contact with your awareness of God.
(Then why be good?)
We do good to the degree we recognize we are good.
We are most fragile in our Identity.
Any way you associate with Jesus (which is what The Exercises entails) will call you into tension with the world. Association with Jesus is a call to suffering. Association with Jesus makes us vulnerable to insult, injury, interruptions, and conflict with the spirit of the culture.
And on discerning the difference between my voice and God's: "What do I sound like when I'm selfish?" When it is God's voice, it will call me to mystery and adventure. Discernment never ends in clarity. Discernment only gives clarity as to where to start walking in faith.
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And this has been on my mind, too, in this highly charged election season (yet a year away). I think about political issues a lot, but say and write very little. There are several reasons for this. First of all, I feel it's often too divisive and negative and loud. As in shouting loud, with very little true dialogue.
Also, I have changed my own mind many times on various issues because I have a tendency to see and appreciate more than one side (there are always at least two) of an argument. There's always more to the story, and often it's not about what we think it's about. And the real reason: Politics will not change the world. Spiritual direction will change the world. Because what will change the world is each of us sorting out our own stuff and finding our truth, then moving to action and living our truth from the heart.
The Momentous Step The moment in which we become aware of the creative action of God and are therefore able to respond or resist, is the moment in which our conscious spiritual life begins. In all the talk of human progress, it is strange how very seldom we hear anything about this, the most momentous step forward that a human being can make, for it is the step that takes us beyond self-interest, beyond succession, sets up a direct intercourse with the soul’s Home…. Large parts of the New Testament are concerned with the making of that step. But the experimental knowledge of it is not on the one hand possessed by all Christians, nor on the other hand is it confined to Christianity.