By Meg Dixon
Our spiritual journeys are unique to each one of us and to share them with others can be enabling for all involved. We may have begun to share in this way with a few others during Friend's weekends or through contacts afterwards. These can be limited by numbers of people involved and by the fullness of planned sessions during the weekend. But there are benefits as a result of time given over to a small group (or groups) coming together to share more deeply. On such a Friends weekend, this need not necessarily involve the guidance of a Team member if a Friend was willing to do so. Such sharing might well enrich the whole group experience as well as increase our understanding of each other.
Different though this is from the silent prayerful being together we have experienced on an IGR (individually guided retreat), sharing our spiritual journeys does seem to offer another valuable way of being in relationship with each other in God. I wonder what other Friends feel about having such an opportunity.
I came to know Ignatian Spirituality only when I was near retirement and met Gerry Hughes SJ at a 'Practising Discernment' weekend. A life-long Anglican and a Quaker, too, since my mid 20's, I was becoming increasingly ecumenical and contemplative. It was a joy to discover a way of being with God, Christ and the Holy Spirit which spoke to me as no other way quite had. At the same time, it seemed perfectly natural and was probably partly sensed even from early childhood. The Ignatian way was to nourish my spiritual life. Praying with Lectio Divina, the Scriptures and guided imaginative prayer led me to become even more contemplative. Attendance at a Llysfasi Spirituality Workshop further developed this and led to a burst of poetry – written mostly out of pure joy!
I was fortunate to belong to an Ignatian group which offered weeks of accompanied prayer for several denominations – a humbling and enriching experience. I experienced the Exercises in Daily Life at the same time as training to offer Spiritual Accompaniment. On retirement there was more time to help lead interdenominational retreats, quiet days and worship. Ignatian Spirituality and practices were very much a part of all these.
In later life activity is more limited but there is more time for prayer in many ways, including through the medium of textile art. As Gerry Hughes said, 'God is in everything' and I keep discovering this. Maybe coming late to Ignatian Spirituality gave me the wisdom from experience to know its rightness for me. Thank God.