Martin Luther, Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa Avila Walked into A Bar…

Well, no, they didn’t, and I don’t have any funny joke to tell about them. Nor is putting them together in the title my brainstorm.  For that, I credit Susanna Bertelsen, another spiritual director here in the Twin Cities.  Susanna wrote a reflection for the blog of the Loyola Spirituality Center, sharing some thoughts that arose from a trip she took this summer.

Speaking of Luther, Ignatius and Teresa, Susanna wrote:

What common wisdom might Martin Luther (1483-1546), Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) and Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) have acquired that could inspire us today?  They were all influenced by the political and religious challenges of their time. They exhibited leadership. They were challenged by dark periods and emboldened by periods of clarity and light. Each one struggled with their God until they surrendered to the Divine Mystery in their lives. They intentionally created time for study of and silent prayer with Scripture. Each had a passion to share the teachings of the Gospels to all people, regardless of class.  It seemed that their spiritual practices led them to “listen” more deeply to the stirrings of the Spirit within them.  Through their study, prayer and lived experiences each one encountered the Presence of God to inspire, to heal, to reach out.  They developed relationship through encounter with the Holy One who moved them to become aware of and to reform the inequalities and abuses of their time, in the places and spaces around them.  I see here Divine synchronicity!  Luther in Germany and Ignatius and Teresa in Spain discovered and developed contemplative life styles.  Contemplation, for each of them, led to action, within their respective worldly situations.

And, as Susanna recognized in her reflection, what is central is what all of this means for us today.  The challenge, she suggests, is to ask ourselves:

To whom and to what must I LISTEN more attentively?… What REFORMATION or change or transformation in myself must occur in order to ENCOUNTER the “good” in myself and others?

You can read the entirety of Susanna’s reflection here.



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