Terry Fanning, Spiritual Director, Retreat Facilitator and Supervisor with JISA Campion reflects on some experiences of giving the Spiritual Exercises.
“My experience of being in the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises has been like a flower with seeds being dropped out of it all over the place.” says Terry. “My grandchildren have been collecting those seeds from the supermarket, loads of them! And looking at the planter box, there are all different kinds; carrots, poppies, basil, tomatoes, it will look marvellous! Just like a picture of the people in this ministry.”
Terry reflects she has been moved and transformed in giving the Spiritual Exercises. “I feel such humility in the face of every unique person I take through the Exercises. One example is when I felt some hesitancy around someone’s intellectualism, before beginning the Exercises” remembers Terry “The Spiritual Exercises are a program of the heart, we begin in the heart and make sense of it later. It was a challenge, an invitation to meet with someone who did not have this heart language, I was curious at how intellect and heart could meet. And I thought whom am I to say no?”
“Happily, as I began to meet this person, my heart opened to the way God was present to them on the inside! It was such an eye opener!”
Another example was when Terry first began offering the Spiritual Exercises and she had a predetermined list of what was required before someone could embark on them as that was her experience when she first made the Exercises herself. “However, since that time I’ve had to undo this thinking” Terry reflects. “I’ve taken on board the 15th annotation, don’t get in the way of the Holy Spirit and the real significance of that.”
I’m in awe of how God works, it’s often not a way that God works with me,
I see another wonderous way that God is with this person. It’s beautiful.
I think that’s what’s been happening over time with me as a giver of the Exercises” states Terry, “As I give the Exercises, I’m in awe of how God works, it’s often not a way that God works with me, I see another wonderous way that God is with this person. It’s beautiful.”
And Terry is curious and open to what is it about a person’s life that blocks or sets them free to live their life to the fullest. “I’m receiving information and some of my prejudices and biases are removed. There is a mutual depthing in our spiritual journeys.”
“I think my blinkers have been taken off and I’m getting out of the way of the Holy Spirit.”
“If a person gets a real sense of being loved, that’s an amazing grace. And that has taught me so much about giving the Spiritual Exercises” exclaims Terry with a smile.
To enquire about Spiritual Direction, the Spiritual Exercises or Supervision, contact Jesuit and Ignatian Spirituality Australia on 1300 EXAMEN (1300-392-636) or firstname.lastname@example.org.