Paul Coutinho, S.J., author of How Big is Your God and Just as You Are, has a new book with us: An Ignatian Pathway – Experiencing the Mystical Dimension of the Spiritual Exercises. Here’s a “money quote”:
Here’s a feeling I often had at the beginning of my spiritual journey: I am charged with fervor that comes from a prayer experience or even from my daydreaming. I’m ready and anxious to do some new things.
Be cautious, says Ignatius. How often the great things that we dreamed about in a moment of excitement were mere fantasies and never see the light of day. Ignatius would like us to come down to an even balance before we make a promise or a vow. In a state of euphoria we may not be able to see all of the obstacles or be objective in our decisions. Once we calm down we will better be able to see our strengths and our weaknesses in making our dreams a reality.
Ignatius wants us to be enthusiastic and animated about what we dream about. He also wants us to have balance and a realistic view of ourselves. Decisions made in a sudden state of fervor often do not materialize. They can leave us with a feeling of having wasted time and energy.
An Ignatian mystic has their head in the clouds but their feet firmly on the ground.
How often have I whipped myself up in a frenzy to do some great thing, only to collapse half a mile down the road? Better, as Paul says, to keep your feet on the ground.