Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Monday, February 14, 2011

The wilderness, the laity, and the Spiritual Exercises

- Christ in the Wilderness by Moretto da Brescia

Today I was thinking about this week of the online Spiritual Exercises retreat given by Creighton University - it's about Jesus' time in the desert. It reminded me of that poem by Robert Graves, In the Wilderness ....

CHRIST of His gentleness
Thirsting and hungering
Walked in the wilderness;
Soft words of grace He spoke
Unto lost desert-folk
That listened wondering.
He heard the bitterns call
From the ruined palace-wall,
Answered them brotherly.
He held communion
With the she-pelican
Of lonely piety.
Basilisk, cockatrice,
Flocked to his homilies,
With mail of dread device,
With monstrous barbed slings,
With eager dragon-eyes;
Great rats on leather wings,
And poor blind broken things,
Foul in their miseries.
And ever with Him went,
Of all His wanderings
Comrade, with ragged coat,
Gaunt ribs--poor innocent--
Bleeding foot, burning throat,
The guileless old scape-goat;
For forty nights and days
Followed in Jesus' ways,
Sure guard behing Him kept,
Tears like a lover wept.

Not so much related, I guess, but today I also listened to a video from Georgetown University - The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola: Emerging Role of the Laity - which has a number of Jesuits, including John O'Malley, Joseph Tetlow, and John Padberg, speaking about the involvement of lay people and also non-Catholics in the giving and the making of Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. John O'Malley SJ mentions in the video that Ignatius was a lay person when he had his conversion experience, was a lay person when he wrote the Spiritual Exercises, and he spent some years giving the Exercises as a lay person to other lay persons.


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