Ignatius on Spiritual Conversation
Ignatius has three foci in his letters about spiritual conversation.
The first is slowness. He says, “Be slow to speak,” to begin with quiet listening for meaning, for understanding, and above all, for catching the driving desires underneath the other’s words. Only then does your receiver make a choice, whether to speak or be silent.
The second focus is freedom. He asks conversing people to be free of personal opinion, quick decisions, attachments, outside authorities, and rigidness. Rather, your receiver should cultivate kindness, compassion, humility, sincerity, equality, and adapt to the other in her or his manner.
The third focus is openness. He believes spiritual conversations awaken self-knowledge and love in people, bringing their interior life into the sunshine and enlarging their vision of what could be. They open people up to God’s action. In such openness your receiver needs to respect how other receivers express their prayer experience, tell their life story, express need or vulnerability. Group awareness and care in this openness is everyone’s responsibility, because God is equally in all.
John Dardis SJ introduces the practice of spiritual conversation for groups, communities and organisations.