“He saw a vast crowd, and his heart was moved with pity for them.” Christian wisdom is to see the world around us with the eyes of Christ. St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises is a very good way of allowing Christ to work this miracle in us. Through these exercises, Christ changes the patterns of significance and value that shape our perceptions.
The culture around us, in countless, relentless ways drums into us its own ‘patterns of significance and value’: “This is fantastic! You gotta have this!” But how is it that just this one image of Christ ‘moved with pity for them’ can move us more deeply? There’s the miracle. And the Spiritual Exercises focus on that miracle: the little calls and inspirations that are often on the periphery of our consciousness and often lost, these are brought into the foreground and treasured. Your heart is changed and you see with the eyes of Christ!
—Fr.Mark Henninger, S.J., a philosophy professor by trade, now serves as a pastoral care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL.