…when we have the courage to look around, to see what we have been given, and what we have destroyed and continue to destroy, when we begin… without fear, but filled with compassion… we listen to the voice of God deep in the core of our being we will hear God’s voice telling us which way to turn…
How the Spiritual Exercises can help us discern.
When I began the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, I didn’t know I would go on making The Exercises for the rest of my life. They are the context in which I live, constantly discerning the most life-giving way forward and constantly seeking God in all things.
In the First Week of The Exercises we are invited to look at the crucified Christ and ask “What have I done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ, what ought I do for Christ?”  By the time we are making this exercise we have come to understand that we are loved unconditionally by God. That knowledge gives us the courage to look without fear or cringing at the broken body of Jesus and also at the brokenness of the world around us.
By the time we get to Third Week we not only look upon the cross, we are compelled, through love, to stay with the suffering Christ and being filled with deep compassion, wonder at God’s presence in such suffering. By the Fourth Week we begin to understand more clearly how God is present in all things “in creatures, in the elements, giving them being, in the plants vegetating, in the animals feeling in them, in men giving them to understand” 
So it is with our suffering and dying Mother Earth when we have the courage to look around, to see what we have been given, and what we have destroyed and continue to destroy, when we begin to understand our loving Creator God is present in all the beauty and in all the destruction, we can take ownership and be accountable, without fear, but filled with compassion, be moved to take action towards healing.
Then if we listen to the voice of God deep in the core of our being we will hear God’s voice telling us which way to turn, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” [Deuteronomy 30:19] St. Ignatius didn’t stop the Inquisition, didn’t rid the cities of poverty, but like Jesus did what he could where he lived and moved and had his being, not in fear but in love and compassion.
With thanks to Terry Fanning for this story. Terry is an experienced Spiritual Director, giver of the Spiritual Exercises and Supervisor with JISA Campion.