Curiosity got the better of me when I saw Gerard Hughes’ “God of Surprises” in a list of publications while searching online for a book on post war Berlin. I recalled many images of God presented to me during my Catholic education and during my decades in the spiritual wilderness but a ’surprising’ God was not one of them. There were many takeaways from this book, but I mention three which were to have a profound effect on my life. (1) God loved me unequivocally; limitlessly and with mercy and compassion (2) Ignatius’ journey (3) my introduction to the Spiritual Exercises.
I completed the Exercises in October 2019 after a journey of some 34 weeks. At the time I suppose the word ‘completed’ seemed appropriate as the weekly meetings with the Director ended; the reading material notes ceased to be added to my folder etc. etc. but as I reflect upon those weeks now there has been no ‘completion’ and no ‘ending’ as the power and impact of where and how Ignatius has led me have grown and are ever present in my life.
How transformative it has been for me to be led into the life of Christ and through Him into the Father to whom I owe all. I am a changed person and have been slowly and incrementally shaped and moulded by the gift of God’s amazing grace. I live with a sense of being at home. Home in Christ’s embrace and with the belief that He is active in my life; Home in the faith community to which I now belong and Home within myself.
My hope is that my Ignatian journey continues guided by a God whose love is without limit and which I can humbly return in service to those who are aged, incarcerated and marginalised.
Yes Gerard. As I look back… A god of surprises indeed!
A reflection from a Spiritual Retreatant from JISA Faber Queensland