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.

Pope_Francis_at_Vargihna

 


 

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?

1:20

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

2:30

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?

3:10

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.

5:00

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

8:50

On the massive changes at the Vatican.

9:20

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.

11:30

The mystical experience he had.

12:30

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

13:10

Discerning and choosing between two goods.

13:30

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

14:30

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).

16:20

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

17:40

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.)

19:00

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

19:30

Overcoming the obstacle of unworthiness.

20:00

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

21:00

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

21:50

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.

23:45

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”)

24:10

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

25:20

The parallel with gardening and patience for growth.

26:10

“God loves that person more than you do.”

26:00

On not “fixing” things and solving problems.

27:00

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

28:00

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

29:00

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?”

30:00

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.

32:40

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

35:00

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.

42:30

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

44:00

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

46:00

Noticing the “now”.

47:00

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

48:00

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

49:00

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
Awareness

Joyce Rupp

Learn more about Ignatius of Loyola here.

Esp 22: Why The Dark Night of the Soul is like Fight Club

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Shownotes
Doug Jackson, Returning Guest and All-Star, Explains the 3 Stages of Spiritual Development and Dispels the Biggest Myths.

Do you know St John of the Cross?

What you don’t know could hurt you…but good news, you are now in for a treat!

Listen and get a fascinating perspective of the darkest places on the spiritual journey with your guide Professor Doug Jackson. See the show notes below!

DougJackson

3:00

Historic context of 16th Century Catholic Revival-Era Spanish Mystic, St John of the Cross

4:30

3 stages of spiritual development 

How do we know if we are making progress and what can we expect?

St John (1542-1591) provides a roadmap for night travel.st-john-of-the-cross-zurbaran-detail-featured-w740x493

The Beginner Stage
(The beginner loves God for the self’s sake. The beginners thinks, “What’s good for me.”)

John H Coe

Doug explains the Dark Night of the Soul, the important next stage of spiritual development, in keen and helpful detail.

7:00

God starts at the first stage (in a place of joy and thrill in God) and allows us delight in spiritual things and feed on “mother’s milk” spiritually.

Next, God helps us get used to our baby teeth by moving us to love God for God’s sake.

John of the Cross takes the 7 deadly sins and show how they can happen to us in a spiritual sense.

8:10

God is weening us away from nursing and from spiritual milk. Like a baby, we may misunderstand and feel unloved or unnoticed, at first.

9:00

Commodified is the Dark Night of the Soul in Amercian Evangelicalism. The phrase itself is often used inexactly.

It’s not feeling sad or a string of bad things have happened for which we feel upset and confused.

BUT—It is that without cause we feel God has abandon us.

It is not a loss of faith, nor not depression, nor a felt distance because of sin.

It was also an analysis of depression 400 years before Freud! 

11:00

God withdraws sensible (sensory, felt) affects. The dark night of the senses. (first phase).

12:30

Maybe it feels like prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Maybe it feels that songs or sermons that had made an affect no longer do. This sense of loss will be different for each person.

13:30

Essentially, the delight in God disappears.

13:00

Mistakenly, we often may try to shock people back into spiritual infancy with a method, tactic, or suggestion that seems like it might cause feeling once again. (like a book, a conference, a service, etc)

14:10

The spiritual advice from John is to not abandon your spiritual practices (like prayer, fellowship, meditation, service, etc) continue to obey God and carry on until you pass through the night. They won’t be fun, but you continue for God’s sake, not your own.

Then you can come out on the other side to the stage of the Proficient. (Though the stages are actually more porous.)

15:00

The 2nd stage is where John says most of us get and hardly proceed from.

2nd dark night, is rare, and is horrible and includes a bewilderment and even a loss of faith in God and one comes out with a much richer deeper faith and far more settled and fuller understanding of God.

John Coe using 1 John 2:12-14 explains the stages as well.

18:00

John of the Cross found this understanding through terrible suffering and imprisonment and he saw the spiritual connection.

19:30

In the Dark Night of the Soul, spiritual answers are obscured and things are hidden from view.

Walking by faith and not sight.

22:00

If you can’t find the answers it doesn’t mean that something went wrong, it’s just that you can see right now. There will be a lack of certainty.

22:30

Stick with the basics in the dark night.

23:30

In the dark night we aren’t doubting our Faith, or God, but but we are doubting our understanding of God and our Faith.

The call is to obey God and persist in our ways as before. Eventually a dawn will come.

23:00

In this stage, we jettison things that are not core, central and true and come to understand God in a better way.

BE WARNED: Others may feel anxious to get you back in to where you were.

24:00

Backsliding is not the same thing as a Dark Night experience. The Dark Night is progression.

24:30

Prophets in the OT go through the dark night times.

25:00

Using a different lens to see what is already there.

26:00

Examples:

Elijah after Mt Carmel

Apostle Paul

Job

Jesus (wilderness and Gethsemane)

Jesus “learned obedience” and the the will of God was not pleasant

We all go through these types of dark nights

 

28:00

John of the Cross’s work was (and is) written for [spiritual] guides (leaders) so they can recognize what is happening and to know what not to do.

30:00

Some mystical-style theologians have been hijacked and grafted into a different (sometimes New Age) model of how the reality is ( i.e. “divided self”.)

30:30

The Devil – So what about the Devil which is a prominent feature in the writings?

A CAUTION:

John takes the readers’ Christian theology for already granted. The basic Christian theology was assumed because that was the background and beliefs of his audience.

32:00

Doug answers…Devil with a Big “D” questions. How do we come to understand John and what he is saying, if it is different than our understanding of The Devil and the spiritual world?

Don’t rehabilitate [John], or superimpose our ideas on his work.

Don’t judge or put parts on trial for the embarrassing and difficult sections of St John of the Cross.

34:30

Approach the text thus: “Eat the meat of the fish not the bones”

35:00

If the language bothers you, then let it lie fallow and see what is going on in your own heart as you read.

35:30

We can learn from old text.

36:00

On intellectual honesty and intellectual humility

37:00

On why the devotional classics become that way.

37:30

On the reading of old books (C.S. Lewis) (click to read)

We have different blind spots now. Different mistakes in different times.

38:30

Our cultural and worldview will effect our beliefs.

39:00

How do we get through the Dark Night?

It is up to God as a Grace. Our only job is to remain faithful.

Father Francis Kelly Nemeck

41:00

The promise is (found in Scripture and from those who’ve gone ahead of us in the Faith) that we come out (into dawn) and see the value of what we went through.

God says to Job: I’m God and you are not.

Job says, “Now I have seen you. I spoke out of turn.”

42:00

A word of hope for those in the dark night.

1. Those in the dark night bless those around them and their pride does not effect this because of the Night itself. We are spiritual protected.

43:00

In the Dark Night we don’t get to be proud of our humility.

Be faithful know that God is using you and wait it out.

43:30

Modern example Mother Teresa. She lived most of her life with a sense of abandonment by God.

“If I ever become a Saint I will be a Saint of Darkness, facing the dark to guide souls to the light.”

44:00

People were drawn to her service and work for God even though she felt God’s silence.

45:00

On her critics who say she stopped believing in God.

Christopher Hitchens wrote slanderously about her and others in his book “The Missionary Position”. He said she did have the courage to admit publicly that she didn’t believe in God and never had.

46:00

Mother Teresa–her fruit shows otherwise (it’s sow belief and faithfulness).

Apostasy is a deliberate walking away from God which is a danger of misunderstanding the Dark Night. This is why trained and wise spiritual guides are essential.

47:00

C.S. Lewis character Screwtape urges: “Use the word “phase” to tell him he had it all wrong”

In a genuine Dark Night, we may think we have abandon God or want to and then find ourselves incapable of it.

48:00

Doubt in God is like holding a volleyball underwater with just one hand and senses all the force and then thinking there is no volleyball because it cannot be seen.

“We aren’t working without a net and we won’t fall out of the arms of God.”

49:00

If you are in the Dark Night…(it helps) remembering “it’s a thing, a documented thing”.

49:30

Walking in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before.

51:00

What to do if you are in the throes of it all. best advice.

Richard Foster’s advice in the Celebration of Discipline. The chapter on solitude.

Don’t try to explain this to people when you are in it.

(It’s like Fight Club) “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about fight club”

Most people will not get it. It can hurt our spiritual reputation. God is drawing us into obedience and faith in the absence of feeling. We carry on

Spiritual Director or guide is very important.

“The Dark Night of the Soul” (click to get it free)

“The Way of Spiritual Direction”

“The Spiritual Journey: Crucial Thinking and Stages of Adult Spiritual Genesis”

Henri Nouwen “The Way of the Heart”

55:00

Protestantism running thin in certain areas.

Psychology tainted some spiritual experience as pathology and than co-opted with modern Christianity.

57:00

Baptists were not systematic theologians early on because of the persecution from the Mother Church (in Rome).

58:00

Puritan writers like Jonathan Edwards take God as Physician of the Soul very seriously.

59:00

The one sermon that did in Jonathan Edwards in our time.

“The Religious Affections” To teach that the Great Awakening was just an emotional experience or demonic experience. He writes on how to understand what is of God.


60:02

On taking your time understanding the Dark Night. God is trying to bring us into greater maturity and Christ likeness.


Have you ever gone through a Dark Night of the Soul?
If you’ve reached the dawn, what was strengthen or changed in you?

Blessings in your night travels. If you aren’t in a Dark Night, it’s coming. Stay Calm and Carry on.

If you have any questions or you would like to drop me a line about what you are going through, please use the contact page. A helpful (worldwide) listing to find qualified guides is here.

 

Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question

Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Question


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Here, just the Father's beard could wipe out planet Earth
(Hey, God doesn’t have a body.)

Shownotes for the Special “Ask Sparky” Episode: Responses to 5 Burning Questions

MIN
1:30

1. It’s hard to pray to God as Father when you’ve had a bad dad. What should I do?

• How do we think about God? (usually like a human person or institution)

• God is Spirit not an old white man in the sky with a long beard.

What adjectives will help you connect with the Being typically called “God”

4:00

Hebrew word for God is a description too (yahweh “I am” a verb) that was not used. Adonai  was substituted and that simply means “Master/Lord” and is a term of respect.

4:30

It’s misguided to think that God can be contained or described well using a “Proper Noun”. God can’t be called a proper name/noun…like “Billy” (and that would make Jesus “Billy Jr.”).

Hebrew names are descriptive when referring to people (not how we use names to address people today).

5:00

YAHWEH (Hebrew word), means I AM (or “is”) and works like a verb denoting Presence an Love in Action. It defies typical proper names and descriptions.

5:50

2. On Forgiveness

“What should I do to forgive when I can’t forget?”

6:10

Forgiving is a continual process.

Thinking of forgiveness as transactional–a debt clearing mechanism. Be an accountant and don’t worry about your emotions being on the same page.

7:20

Remembering that you are not your thoughts.

8:00

What Justice is actually (Shalom). Making things right and reconciliation.

8:50

3. What to do about envying others (in this case writers in the field) and being jealous of their success.

9:15

Seeing the negative emotions as tools. Reframing them to use them to find our calling, gifts, and passions.

9:30

Not getting caught up in “should” and “oughts” and comparisons.

9:45

When you can say of your work, “Wow, I get to do this!” you can have enough gratitude to be comfortable with the success of others.

10:15

It’s common and normal to get feelings of jealousy. It’s only when the take over our hearts and mind do we need to reevaluate and recalibrate what we are doing and thinking.

11:00

Deciding that the options of other people and the opinions should have huge power is a choice we can change.

12:05

4. Getting over feeling guilt and shame that keeps resurfacing.

Daring Greatly Brene Brown (the difference between guilt and shame.

• Guilt is important so we can learn and correct and grow and become better people.

• Shame is a belief that something, un fixable, is wrong with you.

Shame whispers lies in your ears. Shame becomes a decision of who we are as person.

14:05

Being put to shame by parents and others.

14:50

A mistake isn’t part of who you are.

Redemption is always possible. You can start anew.

15:10

My caveat.

15:50

5. Church isn’t working for me anymore and I feel guilty leaving the church, but I don’t feel fed.

In the U.S. we often go to church as a consumers and look for what we can get out of it. Church can be piss poor.

17:00

Look for ways to give and minister and find connection in other ways.

18:00

For me, small groups were a starting point that lead me to seminary.

18:50

Bringing back the potluck and sharing life with people.

19:30

Sometimes we sense church isn’t “working” when meaningful connection is lacking.

20:30

“we” is better than “me”.


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Episode 19 – A Reflection on the nature of Suffering

Episode 19 – A Reflection on the nature of Suffering

I hope you get something helpful from this short episode. There are no typical shownotes this time.

As you hear this essay in verse, may it bring you some solace and comfort if you are in some kind of suffering, grief, or pain at this time.


 

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Episode 17 Shane Claiborne on the hunger for community

Episode 17 Shane Claiborne on the hunger for community

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~Lisa

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Evangelical Seminary is proud to host Shane’s talk. Click the image and learn more about a school that teaches and promotes incarnational servant leadership at a core level.

Shane’s Bio:

Shane Claiborne graduated from Eastern University and did graduate work at Princeton Seminary. In 2010, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Eastern. His adventures have taken him from the streets of Calcutta where he worked with Mother Teresa to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago where he served at the influential mega-church Willow Creek. As a peacemaker, his journeys have taken him to some of the most troubled regions of the world – from Rwanda to the West Bank – and he’s been on peace delegations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Shane is a founder and board member of The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He is married to Katie Jo, a North Carolina girl who also fell in love with the city (and with Shane). They were wed in St. Edwards church, the formerly abandoned cathedral into which homeless families relocated in 1995, launching the beginning of the Simple Way community and a new phase of faith-based justice making.

Shane writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus. Shane’s books include Jesus for PresidentRed Letter RevolutionCommon PrayerFollow Me to FreedomJesus, Bombs and Ice CreamBecoming the Answer to Our Prayers – and his classic The Irresistible Revolution. He has been featured in a number of films including “Another World Is Possible” and “Ordinary Radicals.” His books are translated into more than a dozen languages. Shane speaks over 100 times a year, nationally and internationally.

His work has appeared in Esquire, SPIN, Christianity Today, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been on everything from Fox News and Al Jazeera to CNN and NPR. He’s given academic lectures at Harvard, Princeton, Brown, Liberty, Duke, and Notre Dame. Shane speaks regularly at denominational gatherings, festivals, and conferences around the globe. Follow him online at:

Facebook: ShaneClaiborne
Twitter: @ShaneClaiborne

 


Shownotes (with links) from my conversation with Shane Claiborne

MIN 4:00

About 15 years ago Shane Claiborne and a few friends founded The Simple Way in the poorest section of Philadelphia where drug and sex trafficking became the main “industries” when the factories closed. Ever since then, he and his friends have been living in a communally within the neighborhood and serving the residents there in many ways.

I ask Shane, How have they sustained their communal lifestyle for so long?

Shane shares some things that have helped:

1. We are not attached what it should look like in expression or form as much as we have chosen to love each other and Jesus well and allow community to flow out of that.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“If you are in love with your vision for community you will actually destroy it.”

2. Allowing it to change over the years, from a house with 12 people sleeping all over the place in one house with one bathroom to a village of 10 or 20 houses all in the same neighborhood.

3. Helpful wisdom from the outside from others who’ve been doing communal living for a long time (The Benedictine order, for instance: 1,600 years)

6:10

What is “new monasticism” anyway? Shane explains.

6:30

“Folks are really hungry for community.”

7:20

“In Western culture we’ve lost the art of community.”

In other parts of the world this is how people have survived.

7:40

Economically impoverished communities can be community-rich (places) because they need each other.

7:50

“It’s no coincidence that in some of the richest places in the world we have the highest rates of loneliness..and depression, and suicide.”

8:00

“We are made to love and be loved.”

8:20

Even the mega-churches put in a lot of effort into making small groups work well (because that’s how you find community).

8:40

New Monasticism (as lived out in the U.S. or other wealthy Western countries) connects us with an ancient practice that continues on (and is “life as normal”) in many places in the world.

9:20

What communal living in Christian communities looks like in different contexts…

“Sometimes it’s about renouncing materialism and the Kardashians.”

10:00

What happens when people pilgrimage to The Simple Way to learn what it’s about.

Click for resources from The Simple Way

10:30

On the romantic notions of The Simple Way…

Mother Teresa said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if we only have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”

11:00

There is a wisdom in learning from other communities. Shane and others set up a network called the community of communities on the web which lists other communities like his. Example: Reba Place Chicago.

11:35

MissionYear.org

This way can get rid of the romanticism and allow people to experience communal living first-hand.

Monthly open houses at A Simple Way are on ramps (to learn about community).

12:20

It’s about not just believing the doctrinal statements but about living differently and finding out what that looks like.

13:15

We are called to not be conformed to this world. God wants us to use our gifts and talents.

“Non conformity doesn’t mean uniformity.”

13;30

On the 2007 fire that destroyed his home and many other homes–leaving about 100 families with nowhere to sleep and live. Shane was left in need within the community he helped.

The very surprising statement the Red Cross relief worker told him.

14:00

There are 700 abandon factories and 20,00 abandon houses nearby.

15:30

Their community has built a park, a greenhouse, green spaces for gardens. See photos at TheSimpleWay.org

16:20

How the neighborhood pulled together after the devastating fire of 2007.

16:40

Shane:
As Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t stock up your treasure that moths… and fires… can burn up and destroy.”

17:10

Ministry is mutual and if we don’t have needs we can’t be blessed. (Lisa)

18:30

One of Shane’s favorite quotes:

“If you’ve just come to help me, you’re wasting your time. But, if you’ve come because your survival and mine are bound up together, then let’s hold hands and we’ll work together.”

18:40

This quote comes in and corrects the posture by which we’ve often come on a mission to help people and thinking with a wrong perspective.

19:20

His friend says, “We are born on third base, but we think we’ve hit a triple.”

21:30

We don’t need has much as we think we do.

21:40

On Shane’s take of the story of “the rich young ruler”:
He wants to inherit the kingdom (entitlement thinking).

(QUICK LINK: Read the short Bible story HERE.)

22:10

“For folks that are independent and self-sustaining it’s hard for us to know that we need God and other people.”

22:30

Independence is not a gospel value. We need interdependence. It’s good to need other people and to need God.”

23:30

Besides people wondering what happened to his dreadlocks, people ask Shane this question the most.

24:20

Sometimes we have to challenge our location. (The places) where we (live) end up or are built around (that which) counters (opposes) gospel values. Like “suburban sprawl” which was created to get away from the urban problems (we should work to fix) and keep us from doing good for others who need it most.

It’s about living a life, not where we do great things, but where we do small things with great love (Mother Teresa). It’s not how much we do, but how much love we put into every act (of serving God).

25:00

We must ask:

What are my skills and passions and how might they connect to this world’s pain and injustice?

Whether it’s being a doctor, lawyer, plumber, or whatever, simply do your part.

26:00

What REALLY happens to the “dreds”.


 

Thank you, Shane! Blessings to you and your work. May we find our place to do good too.


I’d like to find out who’s listening to the show. Please help out and take this short audience survey.
It will take about one minute and it’s 100% anonymous. Thanks for helping!
Click the box below.

Spark My Muse


AND Thanks for listening to the show!

Want to answer the Question of the Day?

QOTD: What is the “Calcutta” near you and what gift might you bring to it ?

(okay, that WAS technically two questions.)

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