Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Two Standards: Ignatian Prayer Adventure ~ Reflection 8

The Two Standards meditation appears during a time frame in the Spiritual Exercises in which we are praying through the life of Christ.  I often refer to it, I'm sure without originality, as the Lord of the Rings meditation.  We take a break from the world of Jesus, move to a medieval battlefield, and are asked to imagine making a choice between two leaders: one arrogant, harsh, and enslaving; the other kind, gentle, and life-giving.

In some of the materials offered by last week's Ignatian Prayer Adventure, the choice is presented as  stark one.  I suppose that sometimes it is but, in reality, I have found that much of the time the dilemmas our lives offer are more subtle and complex.  When is an invitation life-giving and when is it not?

Is it possible that, over time, as one becomes more accustomed to discerning, consciously and intentionally,  the difference between those decisions that beckon us toward life and those that do not, the contrast does indeed become more distinct?

Image: Ignatius the Pilgrim


  1. No doubt there are occasions when the contrast becomes more distinct, an awareness born out of practice and prayer and faith, but regardless there will always be times when the contrast is murky. The starkness is only apparent as one moves through the muck and recognizes that there really is only one direction, one in which one is propelled more than moves by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that something was going to happen....

  2. Sometimes I think, people resort to a touchy feely version of the question "What brings life?" Your Lord of the Rings Image is really helpful. Standing on the field in front of Mordor, the life-giving option is to stand and fight but it isn't touchy-feely. I don't imagine the soldiers or even main characters felt excited or enlivened by the choice to stand and fight. The same goes for Sam, who has followed Frodo to Mount Doom.

    I am currently reliving a big decision which was the result of discernment for an assignment. at the time it was made it was anything but life giving, in fact it felt quite the opposite. A year down the line I can see how it has become life-giving but I still don't feel comfortable about it.