For so many of us whose religious world views have begun to shift, and previous ways of viewing various elements of what we had been taking for granted start to become less stable, scripture is one of the components for which we can easily lose affection and appreciation. But rather than abandon our reading and study practices altogether, there are approaches to it that match well with what our journeys have prepared us be able to engage. One such method is the focus of this episode, an Ignatian spiritual practice/approach to scripture. (We’d already introduced another practice, lectio divina in Episode 014, but the Ignatian method is quite different from that.)
Our guide into this practice is Mark Crego, a regular guest on Latter-day Faith podcast as well as Mormon Matters. In this discussion with host Dan Wotherspoon, Mark briefly introduces us to Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, which came to be known as Jesuits and that is a recognized monastic order in Catholicism, one that places high value on education, scholarship, and science while at the same time nurturing deep self-reflection and enlivened spirituality. (The current pope, Francis, is the first Jesuit to receive that ordination.) Mark then takes us into a few more elements of the Jesuit worldview and what they hold as the highest goal of a human life, but his main focus in the Ignatian practice of imaginatively entering into scriptural stories (settings, persons, what and who else is there that the scripture isn’t mentioning) that can lead into insights and personal transformation that can gained through a practice of this type. In the course of the conversation, he and Dan briefly reflect on ways we might shift our understandings of the Adam and Eve story, and then Mark shares a powerful piece he wrote about his experiences and transformations of insight and how he came to understand himself differently as he practices this approach during Holy Week 2017. It is gorgeous, rich, emotional, discerning, and not to be missed. From it and a closing few minutes that re-introduce the various steps in the Ignatian method, you will be able to gain both a delicious taste of and some know-how about this practice and what it can yield.
Read Mark Crego’s writeup of his imaginative entering into the place of Jesus’s final instructions to his disciples (men and women included at the table) and Last Supper.