Ignatian Spirituality and the Wisdom of the Body

During its recent annual conference, members of the Companions in the Ministry of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises studied a ‘mysticism of embodiment’.

Thirty-five members of the Companions in the Ministry of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises met recently for their annual conference at Amberley in Lower Plenty, Vic.

One of the participants at prayer in nature.

One of the participants at prayer in nature.

The conference began with a beautiful and prayerful Water, Earth and Fire Ceremony led by Sherry Balcombe from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, as an embodied connection and welcome to the land.

Over three days the delegates were invited to connect deeply with a mysticism of embodiment and how this relates to the Four Weeks of the Exercises.

In the First Week, the soul is anaesthetised in the body by sin as we move away from God, and the invitation is to be attentive as God caresses us with his/her breath.

The Incarnation affirms our bodies in the Second Week as we are drawn into deeper intimacy with the body as the site of encounter with Jesus, and through God’s grace and the application of the senses the body becomes the temple where the Holy Spirit dwells.

In the Third Week our bodies are present to the Body of Jesus, and we experience his death as emptiness, while in the Fourth Week there comes the invitation to a new embodiment as the Body of Christ and a deeper relatedness to all Creation and all creatures.

Each day the delegates experienced a body attunement exercise based on the method of focusing — to which we were introduced by Joe Kennedy — as well as an Application of the Senses exercise and Eucharist.

During the conference a special Companions’ meeting was held.

Bernie Byrne

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