For the last few weeks I have properly engaged the practice of silence… or at least, I have devoted time to it and am attempting it. The time given is half an hour, followed by verbal prayer and then readings both from the Bible and other Christian spiritual writings. It totals an hour between 6 - 7am. For the extra readings I am currently working through The Cloud of Unknowing and also The Solace of Fierce Landscapes. One focuses on the contemplative life and the other focuses on desert spirituality. There is large overlap.
The motivation is hard to explain. I guess at its simplest, as strange as it may sound to many readers, I just want to be in the presence of God. I’m not looking for some amazing experience, anything transcendent, I just want to have a daily rhythm of putting myself aside for a moment, shutting up and just being before God. I want my ego to take a back seat with all its knowledge, desires, frailties, insecurities, wants and needs, so that during that time I am nothing and He is everything.
This means being still and being silent. It sounds easy, but I have quickly discovered that it is anything but easy and the work of silence is revealing a lot to me about myself, some of which I don’t like.
Engaging the Exercises of Saint Ignatius
Further to my earlier post about desiring the mystical, I have chosen Larry Warner’s book, Journey with Jesus as what I am going to be using to work through the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius in my daily life.
One of the things it highly recommends is a connection to a Spiritual Director to help guide the participant through the exercises while also providing feedback and direction. It strongly advises against doing the exercises without such a person To that end I have just contacted the St Francis Retreat Centre (not far from where I work) to inquire about the Spiritual Directors they provide.
Part of me is a little nervous about starting as I know it is going to involve discipline and effort and I don’t want to get part way in and fizzle out. That nervousness is also pregnant with excitement and a desire to start the journey and see where it goes. I guess having a spiritual director will negate some of my tendency to run out of steam part way in as I will be accountable to someone for what I am doing. I really do want to see this of thing become part of my life rhythm.