February 26, 2020 — In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius offers us “A Meditation on the Two Standards.” We are encouraged to meditate on which standard we carry throughout the nitty-gritty daily struggles—and to recognize how our choice of standards impacts the trajectory of our life.
(What do we mean by “standard? Don’t forget: Ignatius was a soldier. When we say “standard,” think of a flag one might carry into battle representing the side for which one fights. Better yet, think of a nonviolent equivalent!)
One standard—that of Christ—embodies downward mobility. It is a reminder that all we have is a gift from God. We are called to empty ourselves of pride, greed and the pursuit of power in favor of making room in our hearts and in our world for meeting the needs of others.
The standard of the Enemy tempts us along an upward path. We put ourselves first; we seek that which strokes our ego and makes us powerful and wealthy. Our attention is focused on our own good, and we push aside God and neighbor.
Lent is a time to practice downward mobility. It is an opportunity to pick up the standard of Christ. But rather than carry a flag into battle, we humbly mark ourselves with ashes, recommitting ourselves to following the Gospel message of self-emptying love.
There are countless tools to help us do just this. Below, we offer a few. Whether you want to commit to daily action or prefer to chew over a single concept throughout the 40 days of Lent, the Ignatian family and Jesuit collaborators have you covered.
Prayer is one of the pillars of Lenten spirituality—and there’s plenty to pray for! Here are a few ideas to jump-start your Lenten prayer.
For Peace and Justice: Sign up for daily reflections from the Ignatian Solidarity Network to sustain us this Lent in a spirit of radical hope.
For Migrants & Refugees: Join the Jesuit Refugee Service in offering a daily intention for women, men and children forced to flee their homes.
For Racial Justice: The Racism & Reconciliation Committee at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis provides an Examen for racial justice.
READ: Join the Jesuit Lenten Book Club. The Jesuit Conference is sponsoring a 40-day, online, interactive book club. We’re reading Graham Greene’s 1940 novel “The Power and the Glory.” Sign up to be part of facilitated conversations, led by author Nick Ripatrazone and AMDG podcast host, Mike Jordan Laskey.
LISTEN: Subscribe to the AMDG podcast for weekly reflections on the 7 Last Words of Jesus. Fr. Tim O’Brien, SJ, is taking over AMDG every Monday morning during Lent to share a 3-minute reflection on each of the final words of Christ. Tune in and ground each week in Lenten spirituality. (Beginning Monday, February 24)
WATCH: Deepen your reflections on each week’s Scripture. The Office of Ignatian Spirituality invites Jesuit collaborators to share their reflections in weekly videos.
GO DEEPER: Find the Lenten resource you need. Creighton University’s online ministry provides a host of digital retreats, reflections and more to help you make the most out of Lent.