Why I’m Doing Spiritual Exercises

By Meredith Skowronski, Executive Assistant to the Rector

I spent many years of my life angry at God.  Angry that He would “allow” deep pain and anguish into my life.  That He would “leave me alone” to battle against things that were outside of my control.  In my mind, He always promised never to give us more than we can handle- but I was dangerously close to falling off that precipice.  

I was convinced that I was too broken, too scarred and too unlovable for even God to take note of me.  But at the same time, I desperately wanted to understand how Jesus was human like me. While searching for the answer to this question, I began reading the book, “Jesus, A Pilgrimage” by Fr. James Martin, SJ.  I was reading this book because I wanted to learn more about Jesus in his humanity- was it even possible for Jesus to be human like me? 

Through this book (and now many others) I have learned of the many beautiful traditions and beliefs of Ignatian Spirituality, however, I was initially drawn to their two principle beliefs: That God is found in all things and that we are here on Earth to love and serve God and others. 

These two principles resonate deeply with me.  I began to read anything and everything I could find about Ignatian Spirituality- I was hungry to know how I could more deeply ingrain and live these principles within my life. Slowly, one book led to another and I found myself working through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I was desperate to know God more deeply, to more clearly identify His voice in my life and to understand the depth of His love for me.

I have not been given a greater gift in my spiritual life than what I have learned about God and myself these past two years through the Spiritual Exercises.  While I still struggle daily, I have learned to see the hand of God in all things, to give gratitude every day for the many small and large gifts that God has blessed my life with, the beauty of being more watchful in every moment- to pause, breath, reflect and be present in the NOW.  I have experienced in deep and powerful ways the love of God engulfing me- ME- just as I am- in all of my humanity and with all of my faults and wounds. I have learned to identify the gifts that I have been given so that I might better use them to love, praise and serve God. Through God’s abundant grace and through studying the Exercises I have learned how to find peace in silence, stillness and solitude- and that it is in these things that I most clearly hear the voice of God.  

If you would like to explore the Spiritual Exercises here at Christ Church Cranbrook, join us for our upcoming series, “God Finds Us” beginning January 22 at 6pm.  More info and registration can be found here.