Colloquy

Show of hands: how many readers are familiar with the colloquy from Ignatian spirituality. There’s a brief description here from John Veltri’s fine book Orientations.

I used to find this difficult. My first spiritual director worked through some of this book with me when I was in my twenties. I think I was likely too dense to get it, or many other principles at the time.

When I was introduced again to the colloquy nearly two years ago when I began practicing the Exercises in everyday life, it still seemed a bit awkward to me. A one-way conversation with God: that I get. But saints like Mary or Ignatius, their words are hard to come by.

My current director encouraged me to go back to some of last summer’s imagery from prayer, when I found I was more easily able to compose a place for an encounter with the Lord. One place I frequented in my imagination was a deep but sunny valley full of trees, plants and architectural wonders. To be sure: this isn’t the fabrication of a dream, but just someplace I imagined being with Jesus.

Last month, Jesus turned me over to Ignatius of Loyola, who has been a sure guide these past two years for me. He says very little, but I pay attention to his few words. (My director and I had a laugh about it: the appearance of Ignatius doesn’t mean I’m being nudged to read about or study more Ignatian spirituality. I find it means I can return to him for insights.

Fr Veltri encourages the conversation:

No doubt you might understand this as pretending, as a child pretends in play with a doll. It is, at the start! However, very soon pretending turns into role playing; and this turns into projecting; and this turns into opening your heart and deeper self; and this turns into God communicating personally with you.

What strikes me about this description is that Colloquy is very much like play. Why would we expect God to be one hundred percent serious all the time in these chats? Why would we only resort to it when we were in trouble? Finding God in all things implies looking for God at times when perhaps we feel no great need. That’s not the way we treat our friends, is it?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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