January 2021

Everything is the same, bound into its history, as we ourselves are bound.  Yet also we stand at a threshold,
the new year something truly new, still unformed. 
~ Kathleen McTigue


In January I always feel winter has settled in, especially after New Year’s Day.  Our January theme is “desolation/consolation,” a phrase from the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who in 1534 founded what became the Jesuit order.  

The early 16th century was a dark time - a time of civil unrest and war, recurrent plagues, and disruption in the church.  The young Ignatius, a wealthy Spaniard, lived at court in high style; lost favor and went off to war; suffered a serious wound; and returned, crushed in body and spirit, to convalesce at the family home.  There, in great pain, with destroyed ambitions and little to do, he discovered faith and began life as a holy man.  His Spiritual Exercises, in which he explored prayer practices in times of deep despair (desolation) and of great comfort (consolation) are still used today.  

I hope this winter brings us all times of consolation - when we are peaceful, feeling comforted, safe, content or energized in our activities, and hopeful for the future.  Winter may also bring desolation - when we are lonely, stuck, cold, anxious, full of dread.  In both states, we can turn to one another, seek companionship, return in our imaginations to a better time, tell our stories, and look for someone who needs our help.  We can reach out, in our own ways, in meditation and in prayer.  

I hope you’ll consider joining the “Learning to Lead in Love,” dialogue adventure as a companioned exercise in learning and spiritual growth.  As we stand at the threshold of this new year, we have each other.  I am blessed and honored to be your minister.Janets signature