when you long for the horizon

St. Ignatius of Loyola spoke of the deepest desires of our heart as planted there by God. We have often been taught to mistrust our desires, to hold them with suspicion. Through the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius developed a retreat which incorporates ways of praying and a set of tools for distinguishing our truest, deepest desires as those that God wants passionately for us.  The Exercises invite us into a process of listening for what we desire and to discern which desires come from our own ego and will and which come from our sacred Source.  When we are in touch with these deepest desires, we can allow ourselves to become united with the fire that dwells within us.

In recent years we have heard the term “fire in the belly” be claimed for the men’s spirituality movement. It was the title of a book by philosopher Sam Keen inviting men to reclaim the vitality and passion found within. The original source of this metaphor is unknown but perhaps derives from the stoking of a pot-bellied stove.  Do you have a fire in your belly or has it become dampened by life’s demands?  Whether you are male or female, we are each invited to kindle our passion for life and love.  Fire symbolizes what we are most passionate about, what we love most, where we stoke the flames of courage. It is the source of our vitality and energy.  

We offer the flame of our kindness to one another when we reach out to someone in need. We kindle the fire of our passion when we show up to the blank page or canvas and allow space for whatever is moving in us to have expression. Most of all, we need people with the fire of commitment to nurturing life in all its forms and seeking justice in all ways possible. 

During these days of pandemic, it may at times feel challenging to stoke your inner flame. Consider placing a candle on your altar or in your prayer space and when you light it, offer a prayer that even in the midst of struggle you might become fire. 

~Christine Valters Paintner

how do I love what I love?

inquiry for today~ what is shiny and bright in the new world that is the new day?

when I see what I love as if for the first time

The value as a human being does not depend on

how much I accomplish

or how intelligent I am,

or how attractive I appear,

but on …. how sincere my intentions

and efforts are

and how they are in agreement with my inner values.


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