Ignatian Spirituality and Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts
Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts is rooted in Ignatian spirituality, a practical spirituality for daily life with a 500-year-old tradition. Named for St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits, Ignatian spirituality is a pathway to a deep prayer life, good decision-making, and lives of service to others.
Ignatian spirituality is rooted in the conviction that God is active, personal, and—above all—present to us here and now. We can experience God as we actively engage with the world. One of the foundational characteristics of this spiritual tradition is finding God in all things. God can be found, or experienced, everywhere—in our relationships and in nature, in church and at school, in sorrows and joys, in crowded cities and in secluded retreat houses. We can encounter God in all of the details of life and thus recognize God’s love for us and for the Church as we daily grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts draws from its Ignatian heritage to help develop children and the catechists who serve them as contemplatives in action who are men and women for others. That is, we do not have to live apart from the world but actively engage with it as we are infused with a spirit of prayer. A key prayer form is the Examen, a method of reflecting on our day to notice where God was clearly present or where we were more distant from God and to discern God’s direction for us.
As people of prayer, those formed in the Ignatian tradition learn tools of good decision-making and discernment and believe in a faith that does justice. There can be no true expression of faith where concerns for justice and human dignity are missing. Ignatian spirituality also respects people’s lived experiences and is a flexible, adaptable way of interacting with the world and one another.
The Finding God program guides children to engage in imaginative prayer, a traditional way to encounter God through the use of Scripture. It also engages the imagination through the Exploring Faith Through Art prints and recorded Scripture stories. In doing so, children begin to learn that God can speak to them through their imaginations, thoughts, and feelings, and that God desires a personal relationship with them, as he does for all of us.