Today we remember Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, who taught about finding God in all things. Ignatius taught many forms prayer but said the most important, especially if nothing else, is to stop before bed, review the day, look for God in it and give thanks.
Often at end of the day, facing tomorrow’s unknowns, we fear and forget grace. Looking back reveals God with us. Ask yourself: “For what am I most thankful today? When was I most fully alive? How did I receive love?”[i]
There’s a story of an orphanage amid a warzone. The children have trouble going to sleep. One of the adults gets a loaf of bread and goes around tearing off a piece for each child saying: Hold onto this. We fed you tonight. We will feed you tomorrow. Go to sleep.
We, certainly I, have trouble at times literally going to sleep and at least fearing what’s next. Ignatius says: Stop. Look back. Remember love and hold onto it.
This is a helpful daily prayer practice and also a periodic one for between seasons and on retreat. In the past day or month or summer or season of your life: For what are you most thankful? When were you most fully alive? How did you receive love?
The answers are your bread, memories of finding God in all things, reminders of Christ as constant companion.[ii] As people who often forget and fear, hear this wisdom from St. Ignatius.
Stop. Look back to remember your bread. Hold onto this. God has loved you today. God will love you tomorrow. Go to sleep.
[i] These questions, the orphanage story and the idea of holding memories of love like bread are from: Dennis, Sheila and Matthew Linn. (1995) Sleeping With Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. Paulist Press. Their children’s book (2006) Making Heart-Bread is great for teaching this to kids.
[ii] After the sermon, we sang “So the day dawn for me,” #750 in Wonder, Love, and Praise
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