Igniting Our Values
Igniting Our Values

March 27, Friday

Spiritual Discernment

Maria Cressler, executive director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in Atlanta, stresses the value of an “uninterrupted conversation with the Beloved” and encourages us to remember that God is creating us moment-by-moment.

Scripture Readings

Sunday Readings - Week 5

JER 31:31-34
HEB 5:7-9
JN 12:20-33



A procedural note: our reflections and prayers will refer to the Sunday readings for the week, not the daily readings.

Daily Reflection

Moment by Moment
by Maria Cressler

“What should I do?!” How often have I voiced this plea for clarity to my husband, my parents and my friends, knowing full well that they cannot answer this question for me? I’m not sure why I bother asking, since what they would do in my situation has absolutely no bearing on what I should do. We are unique creatures, after all, with different calls for service in God’s kingdom.

We ache for clarity when it comes to knowing God’s will, especially when we are faced with choices, whether they involve career changes, programs we might join, schools we should attend, to marry or not … the list is endless. St. Ignatius tells us that to attain clarity we must first understand the movements of the different spirits working within us. We do this by carefully examining our feelings and desires, in the silence of our hearts, where God speaks and we listen.

For most of us, this process takes time. It takes time in prayer and time in silence. To have a truly uninterrupted conversation with the Beloved, I find it helpful to take time apart from my everyday life, to “retreat” from the world: without iPhones, iPads and computers, and simply “feel” the presence of God.

We need to remember that God is creating us moment by moment. God is not finished with us yet! God creates us with a new heart and spirit so that we can be the best we can be for God’s greater glory!

Momento a Momento
Por: Maria Cressler

“¿Qué debería hacer?” ¿Cuántas veces he suplicado de esta manera, en busca de claridad, a mi marido, a mis padres y a mis amigos, sabiendo positivamente que ellos no pueden responder a esta pregunta por mí? No estoy segura de porqué siquiera pregunto, ya que lo que ellos harían en mi situación no influye en absoluto en mi decisión de lo que yo debería hacer. Después de todo, somos criaturas únicas, llamadas a servir en el reino de Dios de diversas maneras.

Necesitamos claridad para conocer la voluntad de Dios, especialmente cuando tenemos que elegir entre muchas opciones, ya sea que envuelva cambios de carrera, programas de los que formaremos parte, escuelas a las que deberíamos ir, casarnos o no … la lista es interminable. San Ignacio nos dice que para obtener claridad, primero debemos entender los movimientos de los distintos espíritus trabajando dentro de nosotros. Y lo hacemos examinando muy cuidadosamente nuestros sentimientos y deseos, en el silencio de nuestros corazones, donde Dios nos habla y nosotros escuchamos.

Para la mayoría de nosotros, este proceso toma tiempo. Toma tiempo en la oración y tiempo en el silencio. Para tener una conversación verdaderamente ininterrumpida con el Amado, yo encuentro que es de mucha ayuda, tomarme un tiempo aparte de mi vida diaria, para “retirarme” del mundo: sin iPhone, iPad y computadoras, y simplemente “sentir” la presencia de Dios.

Es necesario recordar que Dios nos está creando minuto a minuto. ¡Dios no ha terminado con nosotros todavía! ¡Dios nos crea con un corazón y un espíritu nuevo para que seamos lo mejor que podamos ser, para su mayor gloria!

Maria G. Cressler has served as the executive director of Ignatius House Jesuit Retreat Center in Atlanta, Georgia, since 2009. Maria received her bachelor’s degree in ociology from Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1982; her master’s degree in theological studies from Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama in 2007; and a certification in spiritual direction, also from Spring Hill College, in 2008. She is active in the ministries of Ignatius House, including: leading retreats, directing individual retreats and offering spiritual direction.



we are your beloved.
Even in our unfinished state,
you take delight in what we are
and what we will become.
Help us to claim for our own your gentle leading in our lives,
help us to know you are always hoping for more for us
and from us.
Give us the strength and peace of heart
to be filled with your power.


Did you too see it, drifting, all night, on the black river?
Did you see it in the morning, rising into the silvery air –
An armful of white blossoms,
A perfect commotion of silk and linen as it leaned
into the bondage of its wings; a snowbank, a bank of lilies,
Biting the air with its black beak?
Did you hear it, fluting and whistling
A shrill dark music – like the rain pelting the trees
– like a waterfall
Knifing down the black ledges?
And did you see it, finally, just under the clouds –
A white cross Streaming across the sky, its feet
Like black leaves, its wings Like the stretching light of the river?
And did you feel it, in your heart, how it pertained to everything?
And have you too finally figured out what beauty is for?
And have you changed your life?
: Mary Oliver



Jesus (L. Reed/Blind Boys of Alabama featuring Lou Reed)

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Manresa Jesuit Retreat House
Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, located north of Detroit in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., offers retreatants a respite from the city on its 37–acre campus with almost 50,000 trees.