Our Charism exemplifies the following:
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, from which we draw our inspiration;
Meditation on the Word of God, on the doctrine and faith set forth by the Church;
Prayer, personal and communitarian; the search for God’s will in the events which are His signs to us, done with the help of spiritual direction and of that brotherly exchange that we make use of in our ‘communities of Christian life';
Frequent participation in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist;
An organic bond with our ecclesiastical assistants;
And, in line with the origin of your movement, our eyes turned always toward Mary, our example of disponibility in her cooperation with the work of the Saviour.
The CLC Spirituality is rooted in the Iganatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. This goes beyond retreat experiences; it is a whole way of living in the world which incorporates the spiritual dynamics of the Exercises. Five points are worth mentioning.
Finding God in All Things
Saint Ignatius means an openness to God in each concrete situation of our daily life. For St. Ignatius, and for us this is the purpose and central element in our way of life.
Responding to the Spirit
In order to find God in all things, a person and the community must be able to hear and respond to the callings of His Spirit. This means attentiveness to the flow of interior moods, desires or feelings and the thoughts that accompany them; there is a need for vigilance because the power of good and evil influence me from within my head and without, through persons, cultural values, etc. This doesn’t, give magic answers but the peace which is God’s gift serves as a touchstone within me for living and choosing what will be a more loving response in the circumstances at hand.
Co-Laboring on Behalf of “The Kingdom”
Following the Spirit is only possible for a person rooted in the knowledge and love of Jesus. God’s Kingdom was established through Christ’s victory on the cross and is coming to fullness in the world in each person and situation through the Lordship of Jesus. Collaborating with Jesus in this struggle leads to intimacy with Jesus – poor, rejected, powerless. The peace bought by this enables me to sense where I am unfree, especially with regard to wealth, power, esteem.
Living and choosing in loving collaboration with Jesus means too, that my life with others will be ‘together’. God has created us in relationships: with himself, other persons and the universe. We are to be part of his continuing creation. Where there is alienation we are called to be a force for God’s healing, a force for peace, born of justice.
Living in True Freedom
Gathering all these elements together, a Spiritual Exercises way of living means living in the freedom for which we are created. Part of the gift of creation is that we are free to plot our course, but we are also called to a freedom which is an authentic, live, loving collaboration with Jesus freedom from all that threatens Christ’s Kingdom in us and in the world, freedom for a response to concrete situations
Being “Contemplatives in Action”
As a retreat experience, the Spiritual Exercises are another particularly rich and powerful experience of the same way of living, only now in the situation of retreat, prayer and reflection. Their purpose, says Ignatius, is to lead a person to true spiritual freedom. There are two formats for experiencing the “full” Exercises. One is experiencing them in a thirty-day period during which one meets daily with a spiritual director and has regular prayer periods. Another format that is especially popular with lay persons is the “retreat in daily life”, in which the retreatant meets regularly with a -spiritual director, has daily prayer periods, but continues living in his/her usual environment. The retreat experience lasts for several months.
During an experience of the Exercises, the five marks of our way of living are sought and deepened as personal gift in an encounter with God.
The freedom I have been given is to be transformed as my relationships are in order, as Christ becomes a personal friend with whom I can collaborate, attentive to follow His Spirit in building the Kingdom – all this so that I will be truly free to find God in all things.
God comes to meet me where I am now and transforms my freedom, drawing me to know and love him more, enabling me to better find Him in all things and in every situation of my life.
Retreat and daily existence: Two different ways of living the same loving collaboration with Jesus which is characteristic of our CLC spirituality.