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EPS 24: The Robust (Ignatian) Spirituality of Pope Francis

Right now, one of the most powerful and influential men in the world is undoubtably Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope, but too few people know the specific qualities of his Order (The Society of Jesus-Ignatian spirituality). His spirituality and training powerfully and uniquely guide his worldview, philosophy of vocation and work, and themes of his prominent, worldwide administration especially when compared with his predecessors.

Through his decisions, he influences Roman Catholics internationally (a staggering 1.1 billion people) and his ideas influence and inspire many of the 2.2 billion people who consider themselves Christian (specifically: a follower of the way of Jesus), including me.

What is most influential to Pope Francis?
His training in the Society of Jesus (the Catholic Order founded by Ignatius of Loyola 400 years ago). This is what guides how he see the world and makes all his important decisions that direct the Catholic Church and influence others worldwide.

Today, we will learn more about these teachings that often come out-of-sync with the ways and structures of established institutions of religion, politics, and power.




Spirutal Director, Jeanine Breault, trained in Ignatian Spirituality
Spirutal Director, Jeanine Breault, formally trained in Jesuit Ignatian Spirituality

Today, you will hear from my spiritual director, Jeanine Breault, a Roman Catholic who is formally trained in the Ignatian tradition. We converse about some of the salient characteristics of the Ignatian spiritual teachings and traditions.

Thus, you will find out the manner in which Pope Francis is directed spiritually by his own spiritual director within this 400 year old spiritual tradition; learn how Ignatian spiritual directors (and the current Pope) see the world and how God works in it, and more.


SHOWNOTES: EPS 24: The (Ignatian) Spirituality of Pope Francis

MIN: 1:00

Answering: What is Ignatian Spirituality?


Finding God in all things. We are invited to notice how God is at work. More than head knowledge but an experiential knowledge.


God is always at work for the good in my life and in my world and growing in that awareness. How can I respond to God’s call?


Ignatian Spirituality in contemplative in action.

Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic are major influences on Ignatius.

3:30 An Intimate relationship with God SO THAT I can labor with God.

Now that there is a Pope who is a Jesuit (the first in history) how does that shift the role and the the way he see the world as the head of the church.


On Pope Francis’s new letter “The Joy of the Gospel” and the Jesuit flavorings contained within and the influence on his life.


On the massive changes at the Vatican.


Who was Ignatius of Loyola? Ignatius_Loyola_by_Francisco_Zurbaran

The story of the man who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) 

Born in 1491 and his message continues to changes peoples lives.

His war injury and what changed his life.


The mystical experience he had.


He work in the discernment of spirits (his work called the Spiritual Exercises) and how these forces work in our lives.


Discerning and choosing between two goods.


The rules for discernment that can be applied to anyone at anytime.


The basic of the rules of discernment.

When a person is oriented to God and desires to please God, then God confirms that and gives graces of peace, joy, and comfort. The opposite feelings do not come from God (fear, anxiety, discouragement, despair, etc).


Through the Ignatian spiritual exercises, one can figure out what is of God and what is not.


People coming to direction for the first time are really grappling with a sense of God’s love for them (and not really believing it.)


Coming to a spirit-led decision and grace is involved.


Overcoming the obstacle of unworthiness.


Working at cultivating people’s awareness. Asking questions that create space for inquiry, discovery and discernment.


We forget that God loves at at some level and it’s a continual process of remembering.


Her experience with guilt in prayer because of a lack of focus. Apologizing to God about being preoccupied. And the amazing thing God seemed to say in response.

The part of affirming the goodness of God and what God is doing in that person’s life is the job of the director.


The answer won’t expect to my question: “What do you say or do when people can’t see or sense God, or they have a blindness and are unaware?” (Maybe an “image of God problem”)


The “director” is not a good word. The Spirit of God is the actual director and it’s God’s business.


The parallel with gardening and patience for growth.


“God loves that person more than you do.”


On not “fixing” things and solving problems.


Compassionate listening and getting out of the way for God to work better.


What supervision of a spiritual director looks like so that good listening can keep happening for those directed.


Finding a director that is properly prepared to direct others is crucial.

Asking Jeanine, “What happens in your mind and heart when you find yourself wanting to solve problems and rescue someone?”


Remembering the kind of ministry direction is. A prevailing ope that God is at work and in control ultimately. It’s sacred time and time to stay focused. Setting aside things when they come up.


Do people expect you to be their counselor? And what happens when that happens during direction?


Helping people know what to expect from direction and how to find someone who is properly trained.

The international listing of trained directors.

Director will work with people from any tradition.


The connection of Buddhism and Christian Mysticism in practice. Seeing the goodness in other traditions.


John O’Donohue and his comments of what Buddhism can brings to Christianity and vice versa.


Noticing the “now”.


Coming to a vibrant faith where (you realize) God is working in this very moment.


Relationships are the ways we become tuned to God and working out our salvation in real life and ordinary experiences.


Resources to continue on this path.

Ronald Rollhieser The Holy Longing and Prayer: Our Deepest Longing

Carmelite nun Ruth Borrows. Guidelines for Mystic Prayer

Anthony De Mello

Joyce Rupp

Learn more about Ignatius of Loyola here.

ESP 23 The hidden “family rules” that have shaped you (and still impact your life)

ESP 23 The hidden “family rules” that have shaped you (and still impact your life)

familyfightDid this ever happen to you? You think the way your family (of origin) does something is normal, and then, suddenly, you find out it isn’t?

Usually, this happens when you form close relationships outside your family of origin. Fireworks can ensue!

How your family dealt with conflicts, problems, shame, secrets, and tragedies shaped you and learning relational and loyalty dynamics from the previous generations in your family can bring relational repair, health, and hope.


That’s what today’s show is about. I’m glad you can listen, today.


Today’s guest is graduate school professor and marriage and family therapist in private clinical practice, Janet Stauffer, Ph.D.



Dean of Students, Evangelical Seminary

Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy

In addition to her work at the seminary and her clinical practice, Janet is vice president of the Board of Directors at Philhaven Behavioral Healthcare facility. She has led retreats, presented at professional conferences, and published articles in a number of journals. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and approved supervisor and clinical member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She also holds membership in the Christian Association for Psychological Studies. Her research interests include genuine meeting through dialogical engagement, loyalty dynamics between and across the generations of the family, and the intersection of faith and therapy.





Each person is born with an inherent longing to connect.


Early childhood experiences shape who we are and how we relate to others.

Our ancestors deliver ways of being to us across generations:


What can be done if the early years weren’t filled with dysfunction and problems?


How relationship can alter the wiring and re-patterning of the brain.


Jim Coen, UVA – The Hand holding experiment.


In close relationships, we end up feeling–not only are you here with me–but somehow you are me. Somehow we are here together.


Before we can help others, we have to be open to ourselves and our own healing. Our wounds can remain as vulnerabilities and our greatest resource.


“I because who I am through my relationships with other people, so that more of me gets called forth as I respond to others in my world around me.”


The still face experiment:


“Foo-Poo” (FOO = Family of Origin) influences our current relationships.


The interconnectedness and “loyalty dynamics” between and across the generations and how during all our interactions we are holding something that has been passed down across generations and in the larger cultural dynamics.


Example from life (Janet, her husband and the Ford Fiesta). Naming the truth in our interactions and being curious about what we hold from generations before us.


Janet explored what anger was like for her mother and grandmother and discovered not just a family secret and the shame that was carried on, but also a a family norm relating to how pain is dealt with.


Family secrets and ways of interacting waiting like land mines that can sabotage our other relationships.


We can also end up carrying or holding visibly or invisibly things that our spouse (or other close relationships) hold as well.


There are options for growth and healing if we can be open, aware, curious and can find courage to turn and face [the other] and remember where our weakness are and admit them.


The power of naming what is happening for us emotionally.


“Honoring my personal truth, personal awareness, my being, and made a claim for myself has a profound impact in my own knowing.”


“Every one of us experiences terror at the thought of finding the courage to turn and face the other in a painful situation at some point in our life.”


A defend or fight mode should be superseded by the prevailing message “You and I are on the team team ultimately. We have a reason to connect and I long for you. But it’s been hard between and here’s something of how it’s been for me… and I want to know what it’s like for you.”


Yet, we cannot think what we say will always help because we cannot guarantee the other person’s response. So there is vulnerability in saying the truth.


Being calm, curious and compassionate even in the face of wounds and vulnerability.


Emotionally self-regulating and contending with emotional triggers.


(In marriage or close relationships) Learning self and other in a whole new way…in a kind of sacred space to grow through the most tender places that we hold.


Telling the other what would help in what feels like an unsafe place emotionally.


Learning to soothe one another.


On core lies we can believe about ourselves.


Honoring when emotional safety is just as important as physical safety.


What to do when it’s not safe to have important conversations.


Martin Buber-We live with an armor around us and bands around our heart and being closed off and unaware and unaddressed.


Asking questions of ourselves to create more awareness and realizing our thoughts and memories are not us.


We limit our imagination about the capacity each of us holds to respond the other, the world around us and ourself.


We can test our assumptions and plant seeds that bring new possibilities for ourself and others.


When we can’t yet name or isolate our feelings.


Giving permission and a soft demand to know what is going on with someone else and helping them find their voice.


The biblical tradition of the garden where God says “Where art thou?” a story about hiding. God’s longing for humankind.


King David in the psalms is modeling openness and receptivity…asking “What is in my heart?” “Who am I?” “What do I hold?”


Being open and still safe. Giving yourself warm, regard, and leaving the self-judgment out.

“Judgment limits the knowing.”


Being present to and growing in recognition of “here’s what I hold” or “here’s what freezes me” etc and asking “how can I be more free?” and then exploring new pathways and practices that go somewhere.


On the spiritual practices and things can people do to move forward.


These ways of understanding what it is to connect, grow and be human are universal and offer hope to those with varied religious tradition and no religious affiliation too.


The spiritual and the Other when it is not defined as “God”.


“God doesn’t limit God’s self to the church or the synagogue or the mosque and we can never fully describe God because God cannot be contained and is always more than what I can fathom or grasp”


Asking, “How do I understand the call before me and how do I invite others and find the place where they are experiencing call and longing and where is this work happening within them. What is being invited forth?”


How we can pass down the best of our generational dynamics and loyalties to our children.


On the invisible family rule of perfectionism and how it made Janet think she could be the perfect parent and how that idea was shattered.


How she approached her son after that point to understand what he was experiencing and being surprised by his reply.


We can never get it all right, but we can be willing to go to our child and ask them about their experience.


Inviting others to know themselves in whatever capacity to do that they can and hold what they say with care and honor.


Enacting moments and accumulating themes and transactions and happenings and asking “Is their a burden they carry or an injury of disregard or diminishment that was not theirs to carry?” which deserve address and caring and honor.


On having a commit to “I will be there for you, and I will be here for me, and I invite you to be here for me,” is a profound act that helps us for the long run.


Despite our efforts, outcomes are not guaranteed and each person has an opportunity to respond uniquely.

RESOURCES for further discovery:

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Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Episode 18 – Nicole Unice is “Brave Enough” AND so are you!

Nicole Unice

Nicole Unice is on staff at Hope Church in Richmond, Virginia, and the author of the breakout book: “She’s Got Issues” which she wrote from her counseling and ministry experiences. The book produced and encouraged a refreshing and radical honesty that she’s built on in her new book “Brave Enough”.

Enjoy the Shownotes and links below and please share this with friends that you know CAN be “Brave Enough“. Thanks for listening!




P.S. Would you like to get a special, cozy Spark My Muse t-shirt?

Let me know HERE.



Get  Brave Enough or find out more here:

Like to listen instead of reading? Get the AUDIO book here.

Shownotes – Episode 18 Nicole Unice is honest, enthusiastic, and “Brave Enough”, so you can be too.


MIN 1:10

Nicole on staff at Hope Church

on the Richmond VA place and new midtown location.



Nicole’s podcasting experience (the Becoming Podcast) doing hundreds of episodes with her pastor doing 15 minutes shows for commuters.

Lisa asks: Is “campus” a Christian code word for mega church?


How she grew with Hope Church for 18 years, as they started out small in an elementary school “cafetorium”.


The “Youth Lodge” plans and the unique setting with wetlands and hills.


On the importance of Beauty, Setting, and Art in architecture and church building planning to evoke the imagination, inspire awe, and connect with the heart.


Collaborative workspace, and place where kids can do their homework and where people can enjoy the time away in a beautiful setting.


“artist come through the side door of the soul and preachers come through the front door.”


The history of the church and Christian tradition is one where the Church is source of beauty, wonder and connected to art because God is a the Creator.


Her first book: She’s Got Issues

6 main issues women (and men) face that can be a hinderance.

A rich relationship with God can come to a dead end as the ways we do life stop working.


How was it received? The #1 thing Nicole heard was, “You’re so honest.”

Why would honesty be such a revolution in Christianity?


She leaned into that for her next book “Brave Enough”


The story of how she got the title for the book:

To the question, “Do you think you can be brave?” Lucy Pevensie in the Chronicles of Narnia says, “I think I can be brave enough.”


Few women will self-identify as brave. [and not many men will either]

“After we identify the hinderances, what does it look like to walk forward in freedom?”


Brave Enough is about Grace and its effects, inside and in action.


Nicole answering the question: Do men have the same problems in this area?


“Women hearing teaching from women is like hearing in your first language.”


Ways Nicole leads and teaches men.


on how women have to translate teaching from men into their “language” and context.


On how, similarly, Brené Brown was challenged (by a man) to include men in her writing and teaching. (Lisa)


How men and women have similar vulnerabilities though they might deal with them differently.


“up speak” tones in language in women and men revealing different insecurities. (Lisa)


Nuggets from the Brave Enough book:

How the ingredients mixed into something she didn’t expect. It follows a narrative “arch of the heart”. How we can be full and free and confident in life.


on why (inner) freedom is illusive for men and women.

On “Fake Grace” in our head. (the excuses we make or how we blame others). Inviting God/Jesus into those places.


We all (default) and go back to rules and laws and how to short circuit that pattern.

It’s about resetting the heart with a new spiritual reality.


Radical honesty about our ugly parts inside the heart.


Nicole’s Parable: The violently stopping of the elevator door…(and how it relates to our soul).


Open ourselves to God’s Presence and healing.


(Lisa) God uses what bothers us about other people is a mirror of what we don’t like in ourselves.


How our baggage works to impede our progress.

Brave Enough includes major parts on forgiveness


God’s breathing on us and giving us the mission of forgiveness, first.

(Click to read the reference John 20:19-23)


When we keep living out of a wounded place.


How we continue categorizing our experiences to support our false and faulty premises and hypothesis about ourselves.


Questioning what is really true about ourselves (and the mental “tapes” we play).


God gives us opportunities to practices forgiveness every single day, often in small ways in the relationships and event of regular life.


If we can’t be gracious to ourselves we can’t be gracious with others.


The economy of our heart: if we forgive little then we love little.


(Nicole asks Lisa) “What have you learned in doing podcasting?”


We have the chance to never stop growing and transforming and God never gives up on us.


Brave Enough is also an AUDIO book. Find it here.


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Want to extend the good times and answer the question of the day?

What “bad/negative tape” do you have playing in your head most often?


Episode 7 – Vine Grafting; special guest Ray Hollenbach

Episode 7 – Vine Grafting; special guest Ray Hollenbach

Show Notes Episode 7 – On Grafting Grape Vines and Special Guest Ray Hollenbach

Click to listen now:

This episode was brought to you by…

Life As Prayer: Revive Spirituality Inspired by Ancient Piety

Learn about 16th century Brother Lawrence and how his understanding of God’s presence continues to affect lives today.


It’s a fact: the plants that produce wine grapes don’t come from seeds. You can’t “sow grapes”. More on that soon.

And later, Student of Jesus blogger and disciple-maker Ray Hollenbach and I talk about the fruit of the spirit (debunking the most common myth about it), and a little bit about the Vineyard church he is a part of, and what his “Deeper” seminars and workshops are all about.


Wine segment:

Wine grape plants don’t come from seeds, so how are vineyards created?

There are two main ways commercial growers get their fields ready for a grape harvest:

The first way is to plant seedlings taken from healthy and mature grape vines. This means that a harvest of good grapes for wine is 4-5 years away. Booo.

The second way is to use an older and mature vineyard and graft in (attach) new plants into the vine.

They prune down the top of the plant. They chop it nearly down to the ground, and expose some of the top to the vine stem. Then, they graft living plants into it. The grafting process means that whole new varieties of grapes in just one year, using the original root system to obtain all the necessary nutrients. Grafted in plants can also inoculate older vines against certain diseases with disease resistant pants (usually hybrid seedlings) that make the whole system healthier.


It can cost $150, per plant, to graft in new vines and it’s done in a precise sort of way with notching the root stem, adding in plants and sealing them together so they merge.

(how to graft plants and trees)

Grafting plants has been done for thousands of years. In the bible, the church is compared, by the apostle Paul, to a wild olive plant grafted into an olive tree. The first audience hearing Paul’s words would understand this word picture: the church is an introduction of something very new. Something able to impart a whole new vitality into the current understanding of religion and closeness with God.

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 Sparking your Muse

An interview with Ray Hollenbach

Ray Hollenbach writes at Students of

He does the Deeper Seminar nationwide.

View his YouTube Videos on his new channel.

Interview Notes –

Minute: 4:30

Fruit of the Spirit

Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


“Fruit of the Spirit is not a gift that we get; but come as a result or outcome of natural (spiritual) health”. -Ray Hollenbach

6:30 – How parenting matures us in the same way that “making disciples” matures us.

7:30 – The Impossible Mentor 

8:30 –

“The goal of the Christian Life is NOT to get to heaven.”


The Vineyard Church

• John Wimber

10:06 –

Fuller Seminary

George Eldon Ladd 

Dallas Willard

Richard Foster

Eugene Peterson

NT Wright


Grape Vines




“Jesus taught practically and transpositionally.”

(i.e. interacting with the transcendent in a practical way)


Student of Jesus Videos

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