The Exercises made me confront, with highly uncomfortable regularity, the question of what is real. The glory and the great challenge of them was having a regular date with authenticity: a moment each day that forces you to check all the buzz and bluster of your daily momentum at the door, and wait, alone and still, under a gaze that refuses to see anything but what is real. Doing that over and over, it astonished me to discover how much of what preoccupied me was sheer illusion, how quickly every little sprouting bud of my humanity could get lost again and again under a crust of self-absorption. But I also learned that if you wait patiently, in that quiet moment, there’s a chance to know how simple God’s desires for us really are: just to be his child, to know the joys of play and the pains of growth, and to trust our parent’s love and wisdom even when we can’t yet see clearly for ourselves.
John Michael Parrish, Associate Professor, Political Science
I subscribe to this simple definition of prayer by St. Therese of Lisieux: “Prayer is a movement of the heart, it is as simple as a glance toward heaven, it is a cry of gratitude in times of trial as well as in times of joy.” I have been a professed Carmelite for over 60 years, worked with them, lived with them and prayed with them. I have worked and prayed with Jesuits for 37 years. Over the years, I have found much in common with the two orders, each founded by a mystic and a challenging leader. Both models of life, the Carmelite or Jesuit way, must be a life of prayer. Prayer is a necessity in our lives though not an end in itself. Rather, as Teresa of Avila writes: “prayer is in the service of the apostolate.” And Ignatius would agree, I think, that prayer is the basis for making you “a person for others.”
Fr. Al Koppes, O.Carm., Associate Chancellor and Dean Emeritus
Ignatian spirituality moves through my work life and my personal life in delicate ways of becoming, of knowing, of awareness. I use the word “move” deliberately because I became aware of this special brand of spirituality in a subtle yet deliberate way at first. There was a gentle shift in my attitude: It was less reflexive and more reflective. I am more aware of who I serve and how my service affects others. And as importantly, I am aware of how my service to others affects me. LMU brings this into focus.
Bernadette Bernard, Executive Assistant to the President
One of the greatest things about being a member of the Facilities Management team is that our entire organization and orientation is to serve the entire university. Through reflection and personal prayer, it is my service to our campus, especially students and also to our many external communities, that helps me to find God in all things and in all people. Seeking what others need keeps my work, my life and God all in perspective. I see this as my overarching responsibility to LMU and the fullest expression of my understanding of Ignatian spirituality.
Al Tipon, ’81, Director, Facilities Management
No puedo agradecer lo suficiente a Dios por haberme bendecido con este hermoso campus, mi maravillosa familia, y las amistades que he formado aquí en LMU. Siempre los tendré en mi corazón. Enternamenta agrededico, Jesús.
I cannot thank God enough for having blessed me with such a beautiful campus, my wonderful family, and for all the friendships I have acquired here at LMU. I will always have you in my heart. I am eternally thankful, Jesus.
Jesús Santana, Sodexo Catering Supervisor
Ignatian spirituality awakens and nurtures a sacramental belief in a continuing creation in which we all participate. This sensibility sees the grey concrete walkway of life beautified by beds of purple jacaranda petals. Feeling infused with and immersed in life spirit provokes alternate bouts of joyful hubris and jocund humility. In the best case, Ignatian spirituality inspires one to be more open to the world and others, and to do more, individually and in community, all the while keeping matters in perspective and not taking things personally – including the universe.
Paul Harris, Professor of English
Through Ignatian Spirituality I have found grounding. It provides me with focused reflection necessary to process my feelings and find peace with the whirlwind of daily events. As a chemist, I have to be reminded that not everything is analytical; I have learned to trust my emotions, for that is where God (the Director) works in us. This type of spirituality has also given me a new personal, familiar relationship with God as an adult. By “redefining” prayer as a two-way-street and a continuous conversation with God where I can even question Him, my spirituality has been liberated. When I care deeply and invest time into teaching, God cares too; finding this confidence and reassurance in myself and in my vocation has made me a better teacher and adviser. I have been called to teach these students these subjects.
Nicole Bouvier-Brown, Assistant Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Gratitude begins in reflection, an attitude in which I can dispose myself toward equanimity, to “find God in all things” as a way of being in the world.
Work unfolds from learning and teaching, activities that offer the opportunity to emulate the insight and generosity of Ignatius. At their best, my creativity and service are extensions of this spirit.
Growth is rooted in community, the sum and synergy of relationships that both sustain my individual efforts and engender identification with larger senses of integrated vision and purpose.
It sometimes occurs to me that these touchstones of Grace can be found elsewhere – the wonder is that I can find them right here, every day, at LMU!
Paul Humphreys, Professor of Music, Director, World Music at LMU
A beautiful but unfamiliar songbird caught my attention. I looked it up in my Audubon guide and discovered that it is really a rather common bird with a wide habitat range. It lives pretty much everywhere. Had it always been nearby? Why had I never noticed? Why did it appear at this moment? I have found that the skills required for spiritual growth – prayer, contemplation, meditation and discernment – can be learned and developed through practice. These are valuable, practical skills we employ every day to keep an open heart, to be our true selves and to live with purpose and gratitude. They help us find God in all things, all places. We all face daily challenges, frustrations and decisions, but if we can be quiet and attentive we can hear that beautiful song. Such opportunities for discovery and growth are abundant at the special place we call LMU.
Cathy Machado, Assistant Dean, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts