Finding God in All Things – Ignatian spirituality is summed up in this phrase. It invites a person to search for and find God in every circumstance of life, not just in explicitly religious situations or activities. It implies that God is present everywhere and can be “found” in any and all of the creatures and objects which God has made. They reveal at least a little of what their Maker is like – often by arousing wonder and awe when we are able to look with the “eyes of faith.”
How does one grow in this ability to find God everywhere?
Fr. Howard Gray, internationally recognized Ignatian scholar and teacher, offers a simple paradigm drawing from Ignatius Loyola’s writings. First, be attentive to reality, to what is really there. Let the person, the poem, the market analysis, the vista, or the social injustice, reveal its true essence. Second, revere what you see and hear and feel; appreciate it in all its rich particulars. If you are attentive and reverent — then, third, you will find devotion or consolation – the singularly moving way in which God is working in that situation, illuminating goodness and fragility, beauty and truth, pain and anguish, wisdom and ingenuity.
Another opportunity is through the Daily Examen. The Examen is a prayer of awareness that Ignatius taught in his Spiritual Exercises. He considered it the most important exercise a person could do each day. It invites us to find God by reviewing our day — to see ourselves enveloped in the Spirit in whom we live and move and have our being. The Examen is a way of practicing attention, not just at the intellectual level, but at an even deeper affective level.
The spirituality of Ignatius – the habit of taking a long loving look at the real, of being a contemplative in action – continues to be inspiring for people in today’s busy world.
It has been said that, “To know is to experience” (Virginia Froehle, RSM). Let us take the opportunity to really know what it means to “find God in all things” and to experience the spirituality from which Jesuit education and Ignatian pedagogy arises. Daily, for one week, take time to pause for an Examen or Ignatian reflection. Experience the habit of taking time out of a very busy day for attention and awareness to the Spirit around us – to notice how, in the words of Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God.