On Fear: An Ignatian Meditation

Pope Francis preaching to archbishops:

Yes, the Lord liberates us from every fear and from all that enslaves us, so that we can be truly free. Today’s liturgical celebration expresses this truth well in the refrain of the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord has freed me from all my fears”.

The problem for us, then, is fear and looking for refuge in our pastoral responsibilities.

I wonder, dear brother bishops, are we afraid? What are we afraid of? And if we are afraid, what forms of refuge do we seek, in our pastoral life, to find security? Do we look for support from those who wield worldly power? Or do we let ourselves be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer us security? Dear brother Bishops, where do we find our security?

I find the questions just as apt for me, a pastoral minister. Especially that  last one: Where do I find my security?

One of the hallmarks of CSP at Creighton is the integration of the study of the Spiritual Exercises into the student’s life. It’s not enough to read them, to digest the numerous commentaries, and spit the info back into a paper. Here’s my final assignment:

Write a summary statement about your study of the Spiritual Exercises. Focus on bringing together different aspects of the content that has had the most influence on you, that most resonates with your current experience. Illustrate how you have been present to that influence. …

I had to laugh at myself on this a bit. Regarding last week’s paper, handed in Tuesday–it wasn’t returned until today. I was in a minor tailspin on that one. Of course, the 23rd annotation counsels not wishing honor rather than dishonor, or in a modern interpretation, success (A) rather than failure (F).

The paper was fine. I felt relieved. Then I wondered why I felt relief. My discernment to continue here next summer is an open matter right now. And mostly, I feel at ease about being up-in-the-air on it. Yet there is still a wish to be successful, to achieve, even to excel. How does that sit with Saint Ignatius and the drive for magis, more, especially, remarkably?

I think I will be integrating Pope Francis’ question:

Do (I) let (myself) be deceived by the pride which seeks gratification and recognition, thinking that these will offer (me) security?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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