Catholic Professionals Living Ignatian Spirituality
Ignatian spirituality emphasizes finding God in all things. It is deeply an exercise that has elements that accompany it such as the method of prayer, certain vocabularies, spiritual complements, discernment. It can help the team mate who is trying to re-read their moves through prayers and make decisions.
This method can help a teammate in the professional environment, especially in decision making.
The principle of “A little more” and the methodology
The principle is to do more, a little more and to do better. I do my duty but I do it with a plus. Someone who is in touch with this spirituality always tries to do better.
In the covenant prayer, which we do at the end of the day, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we try to review what has been and what has not been throughout the day and we try to improve. We do the life review. The person who lives Ignatian spirituality tries to be a model wherever he/she is, he transposes his prayer life into his daily life. After the prayer, he moves on to action. The spirituality transposes his professional life, his family life and his social life because it takes root in its environment. It is not a spirituality in the air.
How to live Ignatian spirituality for a lay professional?
For a worker, the spirituality helps him to reconcile his faith as baptized with the demands of his professional environment. The movement intervenes to give space to the people who try to follow God to come together. Regarding the experience of MCC Gabon, the Ignatian spirituality helps a lot on a daily basis, members learn to include God in their decisions.
We live the Ignatian spirituality in the habits of meditation and discernment, in the rereading of life which is essential at the end of the day, in the practice of benevolent gaze, in deep listening, in the creation of the harmony in oneself and one’s working world.
Ignatian spirituality always helps us to ask ourselves: where was God in my interaction, or was God in my decisions?
What are the difficulties in accompanying the team today?
- Spiritual accompaniment is difficult and a delicate work. Sometimes it is difficult to delimit/respect how far the accompanist (chaplain) need to act and how far the spirit must act.
- Spirituality is a sacred thing. We can’t handle it anyhow.
- Discernment and making decisions is not an easy thing too. We like to touch, we like to see, etc. Spirituality, we do not touch it, it is only a tangible thing.
- The availability of members is an issue and this has a mismatch on the training side as well. Some that are available are advanced in training.
- Ignatian spirituality aims to form men and women for others. Ignatian spirituality opens us to others. It sends us back to society. Nowadays, we talk a lot about self-realization which contradicts the spirituality. The Ignatian spirituality teaches us that we become ourselves when we give ourselves to others, when I serve others.
Who goes to whom in the accompagnist-team member relationship?
It depends. In one case, it is the team member who goes to the guide. In another, it is the companion (chaplain) who goes to the team member. What is very important is the relationship of trust between the two (team member and guide). Without trust it is impossible. If we are not open, we cannot be accompanied. We don’t know how to help. It is a personalized experience.
We cannot live and grow spiritually without being accompanied. One cannot see one’s spiritual growth by being alone. It is the companion who helps you to make your personal encounter with God. The team member must choose his companion.
What are the difficulties of the laity in the journey of living the Ignatian spirituality?
As professionals, sometimes it is difficult to reconcile spirituality with the demands of the job and the circumstances.
The other difficulty is on the side of availability for prayer, finding time for prayer is a big challenge. The prayer plan proposed by Saint Ignatius requires a certain articulation, requires a preparation and a certain disposition. Proofreading in the evening is also a challenge in terms of physical condition at the end of the day (fatigue, etc.).
The last challenge, the state of discernment requires patience. Discernment is not concrete. Sometimes we don’t have the answers right away.
How to help lay movements to face the difficulties they encounter in the application of their spirituality?
Whatever the spirituality, it is necessary to be accompanied. We need someone to guide us. Choosing someone we trust, someone we love and has experiences. It is mandatory for the movements to have companions (chaplains).
Retreat organized by MCC Gabon.
- Sr Jeanne Martine Toukam, Religious of Jesus-Mary
- Evans Mandja, Member of MCC Gabon
- Michel-Auguste Bussamba, member of MCC Gabon