Grief and Joy in the Spiritual Life by John Staudenmaier, S.J.
April 03, 2006As part of UDM's commemoration of this Jubilee Year, the University hosted a special Lenten series reflecting on the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises. John Staudenmaier, S.J., from UDM's Office of Mission and Identity, presented a selection of the Lenten Spiritual Exercises in five talks open to all interested.
Grief and Joy in the Spiritual Life
Americans are, for the most part, better at strategy (planning, then executing the plan, then assessing success or failure) than at intimacy (grieving, rejoicing, savoring beauty, resting when tired). There's good and bad in that for sure.
No planning and no sense of urgency lead to gradually dying. But no intimacy wears out the inner spirit, which is the source of an adult's energy for living. The Spiritual Exercise teaches a method of prayer in which I learn to be present to the griefs of my life and the joys of my life.
It stems back to Ignatius' dictum, "I will stay there (at some place of grief or joy) until I have been satisfied." The Spiritual Exercise understands all true strategies, our purposeful commitments, as flowing from our intimate experiences of God and God's love for the world. This may be the most helpful single rule of prayer in the Spiritual Exercise for adult citizens of contemporary U.S. society.