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.
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
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?
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?
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. sdiworld.org
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
Did 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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I was a sweaty, nervous wreck on my first periscope.
It’s comical…did anyone ever see Broadcast News (the movie)?
I needed two tissues for my sympathetic nervous system.
(Some technical difficulties threw me just before broadcast and I talked SO VERY fast.)
If you didn’t get to see it here you go!
THE #1 Myth about the SOUL…
is that we have one.
But first….we should get on the same page…
WHAT IS A SOUL?
(what are we talking about?)
This is how I’m describing it:
In the Old Testament the Hebrew word for soul is nephesh. We might use it this way, “1,517 souls were lost in the Titanic disaster.”
SOUL ≠ dead BUGS BUNNY …like a floating ghost and that sort of stuff.
Not a faint rendering of bugs bunny leaving his body to play a harp on a cloud with Porky Pig. Not something that is ghosty and haunting a house or helping Demi Moore on a Pottery Wheel. (Patrick Swayze-style..google it, young people.)
Ancients thought of the mind and heart differently (the will and the emotions)…
Maybe these verses come to mind…but you’ve been thinking about them in your own context instead of the ancient context from which they were written.
Remember this one?
The heart is deceitful and wicked above all things JER 17:9
(Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life)
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
….The writers of these scriptures were not talking about emotions and feelings when they said “heart” (like we associate the heart today…they were talking about the HEART as one’s will and control center of a person…(the thing we now associate with the mind.)
For them, the emotions (the heart for us in our context) were associated, instead, with the bowels. Perhaps a bit gross..but there is some
MEDICAL TRUTH/correlation : anxiety and stress are closely associated with disease and problem that happen in the intestines…like….ulcerated colon, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (bloating, constipation, gas, and other fun things), digestion issues, food sensitivities and problems in that part of the body. These are extremely related to one’s emotions and levels of stress.
The GEM MODEL of the Soul (my version)
Think of the SOUL as a gem and the facets are ways to see the soul.
You can go as far as saying other things beyond these are facets:
family of origin, social economic situation, skin color (if that has been a defining factor in your life)
education, the country you live in,
Even Christianity is a facet. A worldview is a facet that we can gain a kind of look at who we are.
Grace is central to Christianity, for instance. We can look at our soul through the facet of grace.
When light is added to a stone you can see its flaws and imperfections and you can see its quality (color, cut, clarity, caret)
UGLY soul? Is that possible? what do you think?
In his book Care of Souls, David Benner writes, “We can define soul care as the support and restoration of the well-being of persons in their depth and totality, with particular concern for their inner life. Soul care is done in the context of community.”
The vantage point of Soul Care views struggle or failings not as fatal flaws or illness to be “cured”. Not therapy or self-help.
It’s a sustaining endeavor for our interior lives and our relationships, like water and food is for the body. Incidentally, caring for the body falls within the bounds of Soul Care.
Ten Signs that You Need the Renewal of Soul Care
1. Fruitlessness. Are there observable deficits in the enacted your Fruit of the Spirit? That means, is there any lack or slack in the
areas of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control? (If not, I think E.T. went home without you. Phone again. You might want to text, and retweet as well.)
2. You find yourself perceiving things others say as personally offensive, or as direct attacks.
3. You are “venting” more in person or online. 4. You feel unloved. 5.You feel increased frustration, restlessness, or disconsolation.
6.Your fears and anxiety are more prevalent.
7.You have increased tension in relationships.
8. You struggle with one or more of the “seven deadly
sins”: wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony.
9. You have problems sleeping or bad dreams.
10. You’re in a creative slump.
THE #1 myth about the soul is that…. you have one. You don’t have a soul you are a Soul. You have a body. George MacDonald, in 1892 (C.S. Lewis quotes him and the quote is mistakenly attributed to him sometimes)
Think of the Soul as “the real you” the essence of you. contained in a body, yes, but made up of everything about you in a pure sense.
Some might say the soul gets extinguished or goes to paradise or gets absorbed into the great Life Force (God) …but in terms of what you need…you always need Soul Care, because you are a soul and that include both the visible and the invisible.
All this more and much more is available in my book. Shame-filled plug.
Enrollment is now OPEN for the Mini-Course in May! Dismiss