Editor’s note: Throughout July, we’re celebrating 31 Days with St. Ignatius, a month-long celebration of Ignatian spirituality. In addition to the calendar of Ignatian articles found here, posts on dotMagis this month will explore ways of Experiencing God in the Ordinary. The inspiration for our theme is the new book by William A. Barry, SJ.
A book, a cup of coffee, and a rainy day—the perfect afternoon! As I curled up on the couch, I said to myself, “I cannot believe this is happening!” As a mom of three kids living in quarantine, such a moment is rare these days.
I took a sip of my coffee, savoring the taste and the warmth on my tongue, settled the blanket around me, and opened my book. It was a spiritual book that I had wanted to read for several months. I knew it would benefit not only my personal relationship with God, but also my ministry.
I could feel the joy as I read the words, and I could feel the energy rise within me as the message of the book began to connect with my heart. I excitedly picked up my pen and began underlining parts that resonated with me. I made a few notes of ideas for ministry. Even as I write this, I can remember how I felt giddy that rainy afternoon. I remember thinking that the insights in the book would be great to include in my retreats. I carried on reading, pondering all the grand ways I would incorporate this new learning into ministry. I was on cloud nine doing the “spiritual work” of reading about God.
About 20 minutes into reading, I saw two brown eyes on top of a blonde head suddenly peer at me from over the edge of my book. Instantly, I knew it was my six-year-old daughter, who had apparently made her way quietly downstairs. I guess in her attempt not to interrupt my reading, she had crawled on the floor so that she was now right in front of me, eyes peering over my book.
My first internal response to seeing her was not, Oh, how cute! I’ll be honest. I felt agitated, and my interior monologue was going something like this: How dare she interrupt me! Doesn’t she know I’m reading a spiritual book, trying to grow my relationship with God?
Thankfully, none of these words came out of my mouth. Instead, we just starred at each other for a few minutes in quiet, those big brown eyes of love just peering into my eyes. She finally said, “Mom, do you want to play with me?”
I thought to myself, No, I just want to read this book about God and about finding God in all things. Again, thankfully, I didn’t speak any words out loud.
Internally, I was trying to calm myself down from being interrupted from doing the reading that would help me find God in all things and people. As I did, I continued to peer into my daughter’s eyes. Then, clear as day these words came into my mind: Becky, don’t you see me? I’m right here.
Tears welled in my eyes. I suddenly saw Christ peering right at me in the shape of a blonde-haired, brown-eyed six-year-old inviting me to play.
I closed my book, set it aside, and invited my daughter up onto my lap. As I embraced her, I knew I was embracing not only her, but Christ as well. Is there anything more extraordinary than that?
Image by sunset76 from Pixabay.
Learn from William A. Barry, SJ, today in 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Read Contemplative in Action.
Use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius to share the ways you’ve experienced God in the ordinary.