When our first son was two, I would take him to a toddler Montessori classroom. At the art station, there were a few crayons each shaped like a large pebble.
Our son did not yet know how to hold a regular crayon, but the form of these crayons taught him to. There is just no other way to hold a pebble if you want to write with it. He had to grip it correctly, at the tips of his fingers.
Our interior lives, too, benefit from us finding and using similar tools. Take prayers of thanksgiving, for instance. In this mode of prayer, we tune to the gifts of our lives and orient toward the God who is their origin. Simply by engaging the tool, I am productively oriented toward the stuff of my life.
This was also our hope, also, with the structure of Audacious Ignatius. We aimed to create stanzas and art that stick in the memory and then, when recalled, gracefully and productively orient the reader toward a gem of our tradition. Take for example:
“First, know well that I’m loved even though oh so flawed.
Next, spend time with the Lord and to walk where he trod.
Offer all I possess, beg for my stony-heart thawed,
And act from a deep love, the love that is God.”
These are only three (pithy?) sentences. But when held, they may remind the reader of the depth of their experience with the Spiritual Exercises or uncover a desire to engage with them.
Whatever the topography of our interior lives, let’s find and use the pebble crayons that orient us gracefully and productively.