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
My work at LMU is, increasingly, an expression of gratitude – a kind of prayer for the grace of living, working and continuing to grow in the community of this place.
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
During my 12 years at LMU I have been deeply inspired by my co-workers, the alumni I have met and especially the many talented students I have encountered during the academic year. The Ignatian philosophy nurtures personal growth to be the best that we can be and to be grateful for the gifts we have. Each day on campus I am reminded of this by the actions and integrity of the people who make up the LMU community. I feel very privileged to be part of this caring environment. God’s presence is felt at LMU!
Lety Stassi, Alumni Relations
My father was a Presbyterian minister who had a deep connection with his family and community. He modeled for me what faith put into action meant. Thus, faith flowing into action has been a part of my life since I was a child. When I encountered the Ignatian vision, first at Loyola Law School and now here on the main campus of LMU, something really clicked. Ignatius wanted “contemplatives in action” — people who knew themselves and their God well and who from that knowledge and experience brought a fire into the world. At LMU, our mission and the Ignatian vision deeply resonate with me: We are people of faith and good will who seek passionately to act justly and love tenderly.
David W. Burcham, President, Loyola Marymount University
My days as a teacher have echoed with the grace of Ignatian spirituality. I feel deep gratitude to my Jesuit teachers at Loyola High and LMU and to my Jesuit friends and colleagues throughout two decades of teaching at Jesuit schools. I am also grateful to Jesuit heroes of social justice and their ordinary daily kindness upon which justice depends. They have taught me to seek to be a person for others. Such persons are possessed of a precious gift, a grace that enlivens every encounter, every friendship, every love.
Scott Wood, Center for Restorative Justice, Loyola Law School
Behold God beholding you…and smiling. —Anthony de Mello, S.J.
Examen: Quieting the noise, I listen to my life.
The inventory begins … the joys and griefs, the hopes and fears and (yes!) the Love floods in.
The complex mosaic of what this one life really is emerges.
God, give me wisdom to make sense of the “what next” of my life.
I wait, sometimes less patiently and less gratefully than would be ideal.
Then, if I let go of fears and failings, the Spirit moves.
I can see God smiling at this perfect mess of a life.
This gives me the courage and grace to move forward. And I smile back.
That is enough for me.
Barbara J. Busse, Assistant to the President
I came to LMU almost eight years ago from a career in secular higher education and out of another faith tradition. Almost immediately upon arriving on campus, I knew that I was in a very different place. Banners quoting St. Irenaeus’ “The Glory of God Is a Human Being Fully Alive” hung from the lamp posts, and everyone on my team could quote the university’s mission committing the institution to the encouragement of learning, education of the whole person, the service of faith and the promotion of justice. What I could not have known then was the impact that the Ignatian tradition would have on me and every aspect of my work. Years after my arrival, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the Ignatian Colleagues Program, which dramatically deepened my understanding of the Jesuit way of proceeding. The Jesuit rigor regarding self-awareness, the importance of contemplation as an integral part of action, and the centrality of understanding the “other” are all components of Ignatian spirituality that have informed my practice of my profession and my life.
Dennis Slon, Senior Vice President for University Relations
When I entered the LMU campus 35 years ago, I somehow knew I was “home.” I walked the path from the then-palm-tree-lined 80th Street entrance to the chapel. I opened the doors to the quiet church. I walked in. A feeling of stirring Possibility filled me. Words of the famed dancer Isadora Duncan came to mind: “I can see the stars, but I do not know how to reach them.” I recently learned that St. Ignatius of Loyola entered his contemplations looking up at the stars. Having discovered that connecting thread is meaningful to me. My journey with Ignatian spirituality—teaching, learning and living—has ranged from times when I felt as if I were walking over shards of broken glass to moments of almost tasting the fragrance of sunlight. I have experienced celebration, grief, awe, insight and gratitude. This state of being teaches and re-teaches me where “home” really is.
Judith M. Scalin, Professor, Dance
El verdadero amor a Dios, lo descubrí al nacer mi hija. Es el acontecimiento más bello que Nuestro Señor me ha dado, y por el cual le vivo eternamente agradecida. Siempre que tengo una oporrtunidad, esbozo una oración encomendando por una mejor mañana a mi hija, y a mis semejantes. Esto me llena de una riqueza espiritual sin limites.
I discovered the true love of God when my daughter was born. This is the most beautiful event of my life given me by our Lord, and for which I live eternally grateful. Whenever I have the opportunity, I sketch out a prayer requesting a better tomorrow for my daughter and my fellow human beings. This fills me with limitless spiritual richness.
Cristina Garzon-Duval, Custodian, Facilities Maintenance
The invitation to respond fully to your life each day—to pay close attention to what is around you and who is in front of you—is a great challenge and gift. Ignatian spirituality reminds me that life itself is a sacrament, to be partaken with gratitude and humility, but taken in as fully as possible. Am I open enough to truly see God in all things? Can I live in such a way? I want to.
Jennifer Abe, Associate Professor, Psychology
After completing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for Busy Persons, it was evident to me that my prayer life had been given form through the daily reflective structure derived from the Examen. I have used the strategies of the Examen in developing a thoughtful experience that school leaders can utilize each day in meeting the many challenges of leading a school community. It is through regular reflection focusing on learning from the day’s situations, decisions and issues, while seeking to find God’s active presence in all things, that the leader can find a path to servant leadership. While engaging in this practice, the servant leader is then called to live the Ignatian principle of being a person for and with others in all aspects of his or her personal and professional life.
Anthony Sabatino, Assistant Professor, School of Education
I have worked at LMU for 25 years, and my spiritual being has been developed in the community: compassion for God’s people, encouraging and supporting others though their trials and tribulations. Participating in Ignatian Spiritual Exercises helped me feel God’s presence, peace and serenity in all areas of the campus. Ignatius’ teachings give insight that God is at work in all of reality for our benefit and that He labors daily for all of us. God is working with us, whatever our stage of life is at this time, bringing about newness of life.
Let Go, Let God
Dorothy Love, Assistant Director, Facilities Management
Unlike other religious communities, Jesuits do not have a “rule,” as for example, the Rule of Augustine, Benedict or Francis. Instead, they have a common spirituality, rooted in their experience of making the Spiritual Exercises. From this, four themes have shaped my own spirituality.
First, what Ignatius calls “the First Principle and Foundation” says simply that we are created to praise, reverence, and serve God, and all else should assist us toward that end. This calls for a profound spiritual freedom.
Second, the “Meditation on the Kingdom” is a challenging call to a personal following of Christ, to join him in what today we would call his ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Third, the rules for the discernment of spirits provide a way of testing how we may be moved at particular moments.
And finally, from the “Contemplation for Obtaining Love” at the end of the Exercises comes the Jesuit readiness to “find God in all things.”
Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Professor, Theological Studies