After the sufferings and sacrifices of Lent, followed by the joy of Easter and Pentecost many of us face a bit of a spiritual hangover as the long, hot summer approaches. We may feel a bit lost or aimless as we navigate the days coming down from our Easter high which makes it a perfect time to start something new in your spiritual life. While there are many sources of inspiration all around, one thing that I find particularly inspiring is learning about the spirituality of the saints. There are so many amazing people that have been lifted up as examples in our Catholic faith. These people are not examples of perfection, but they are examples of faithfulness. Most of them struggled and faced challenges but, with God’s grace and their willingness, they overcame everything for the glory of God. There are two saints that I’m especially interested in right now and I’d like to give you a brief introduction to them.
St. Ignatius and his spiritual exercises really have me excited at the moment. I admit, I had heard of these exercises before but assumed they were far too lofty for me to understand. But I kept thinking about my own desire to understand God’s will in my life and since the exercises are based in the practice of discernment, I had to check it out. St. Ignatius gives us rules to help us learn how to properly discern in our spiritual lives. I love that. I love rules, they help me make sense of things. So, I found a great podcast by Father Timothy Gallagher called Discernment of Spirits to help me get started. Father Gallagher explained each rule clearly and gave real life examples that were very helpful. From there, my next step is studying more about the exercises and I’m currently reading through websites and articles to learn more. I’m looking forward to working on this all summer!
The second saint I’m walking with this summer is St. Terese. I am fascinated with her “little way” and, her boldness in faith. I wrestle quite a bit with feeling spiritually beat down by my failings so the notion that perfection isn’t necessary to be a saint is really appealing to me. St. Terese offers hope to those of us who try and fail often because her emphasis is on the trying part. How awesome is that? Although I had certainly heard of St. Terese and had some awareness of her spirituality, it was Father Michael Gaitley’s book, 33 Days to Merciful Love that really piqued my desire to dig deeper. Throughout this summer, I’ll be researching and reading more about this great saint as well.
Without a liturgical season to keep the fire lit, it’s up to each of us to stoke the flame that was ignited in our soul throughout Easter. As you move into the months of summer, I hope you will look for something to inspire you to grow in holiness, whether it’s a saintly project or something else. Just ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and you’ll soon find just the inspiration you need.