In my room I have an icon of St. Ignatius that was painted by William McNichols. In the Icon St. Ignatius has one finger up to his lips, and the other near his heart. The finger up to his lips is in the typical gesture to remind us to be quiet, and boy do I need that reminder right now.
Rome is noisy. I live over Piazza Venezia, and not a moment goes by without a motorino passing under my window. My life is noisy. I have two soundtracks, one in English, one in Italian, running in my head at all times. My heart right now… a little noisy. So I am headed north, and east, into the mountains for a week to be quiet and pray.
Those of us who are Jesuits have the privilege of doing this every year, of renewing our life in the spirit by just being quiet and being with the One who makes our vocations both possible and meaningful. It’s the time to listen to that still small voice, and the time focus all of our thoughts and all of our intentions one the one who loves us.
Augustine once said that prayer is like breathing for the soul. Imagine your first breath after coming up from a prolonged stretch under water… that is what retreat can be like for your soul. This is why I am so excited to come up for air.
Ignatius lived in this house, and I can picture him being here at the cross roads of Rome knowing just what I am talking about, that he needed to be quiet and pray. So do I.
So I am off to the mountains to pray, and this blog will lay dormant for a week or so. Pray for me and know that I will be praying for you.