The Small Rectangle – Ignatian Spirituality

rectangle card and leaves - photo by PNW Production on Pexels

Earlier than faculty set free for the summer season, a couple of colleagues and I gathered for a mini-retreat to shut out the yr. At the start of the retreat, our director invited us to spend a while writing down all of the graces we had skilled all through the college yr. Earlier than he dismissed us to go off and replicate, he mentioned, “Now, I’m certain you’re questioning what the rectangle is all about.”

He was proper. I used to be!

Within the backside right-hand nook of the offered paper, there was a small, empty rectangle. The director went on: “The tendency after we replicate about our yr is to first call to mind the challenges we confronted as a substitute of the graces we obtained. That’s OK; it occurs, and it’s a vital a part of reflection. However for this primary a part of our retreat, when a problem involves thoughts, I invite you to place it within the rectangle—the small rectangle—and go away or not it’s, so you’ll be able to return your self to give attention to the graces first.”

It was a brand new method of continuing for me, and I’ve considered that small rectangle rather a lot ever since.

I do have that tendency to give attention to challenges over graces. When an issue arises in my day, it may possibly change into the one factor about which I can assume or speak. Till I discover a resolution to the issue, it may possibly change into so all-encompassing that it blocks me from seeing God at work in my day.

The truth is, a couple of weeks in the past, proper earlier than I obtained into a gathering that I had been trying ahead to, I obtained an e-mail about an issue that had my thoughts stepping into one million instructions. I all of the sudden was very distracted. However then, the small rectangle from the retreat popped into my head. I assumed, “What is going to occur if I draw my very own small rectangle on the paper I’m going to make use of for notes, write down what’s distracting me, and inform it to remain there till I’m accomplished with this assembly and might assume extra about it?”

So I did simply that, and it labored! I put apart the e-mail till my assembly was over. Once I returned to contemplate its context, I discovered that the intentional pause I took in serious about it helped me to contemplate the difficulty extra rationally after I returned to it. The large downside contained inside 4 skinny pencil partitions was all of the sudden not as huge anymore.

As we gear up for a busy fall, it’s inevitable that challenges will come up in our days. What would occur if we dedicated to quickly banishing the challenges to the confines of a small rectangle so the graces can take over first with out restrict?

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