Certainly you no longer avoid breaks in the sidewalk to protect your mother's back. And you likely jump straight from a full meal into the water without a second thought about cramping and drowning. Evidence- either your own observations of that offered by experts, has led you to living free from these limitations, albeit rather marginally important ones.
Just as we accepted these warnings of our youth, many of us came to adopt religious practice and beliefs because we were simply the next generation in a long line of people to tell their offspring that "this must be done" or "this must be believed." But now many of us have applied our 21st century evidence-based analysis to matters of religion and faith and have found these "musts" to be insupportable. Religious practice and beliefs are then often quickly discarded and so we are left with a lot of people living "free from the constraints of religion" but curiously still discomfited by a residual hunger that resists being understood and will not be satisfied.
Is there a way to shift this narrative away from a future marked by a seemingly inexorable distancing/alienation from the stabilizing influence of shared path to wisdom that has been satisfied by the Church for millennia?
Perhaps what we need is evidence-based spirituality. Moderns are looking for something they consider more trustworthy than adopting a belief system and practice based upon the experience of people centuries before and promoted by an institution whose perceived reliability has been corrupted by its own leaders.
St. Ignatius's path to spiritual maturity provides such a roadmap. The Spiritual Exercises is a method of encountering God, not adopting someone else's beliefs about God. While inarguably shaped by the wisdom of centuries of holy ones who have comprised the Church, the Exercises invite each person anew to encounter the ultimate mystery that we call God.
Pope Francis has recently approved the Jesuit order's discernment of their central priorities for the next decade -- and the first of these four priorities is the promotion of the Spiritual Exercises. At Casa Romero, we bring innovative ways to apply Ignatian Spirituality so that our retreatants can maintain faith lives that will not wither before modern evidence-based skepticism. And we bring this spirituality to people who otherwise would not experience it. These are the future leaders of our Church and society, and once they encounter God personally, it's more difficult to persuade them away.
Would you like to read more about Ignatius's "way" that is relevant today as it was 500 years ago? I suggest picking up
"What is Ignatian Spirituality?" by David Fleming, S.J.
Do you want to "try on" some key Ignatian practices? A very good place to start is by adopting Ignatius's discipline of
watching for God's presence throughout your day - the Examen - the prayer that St. Ignatius described as absolutely
essential for his companions. You might even want to download a new app from www.IgnatianSpirituality.com.