I want to welcome everyone to the beginning of our New Year of Service! Ignatian Volunteers tell me about how their hearts, not just their minds, lead them to IVC. Their hearts’ desires and their gratitude about the blessings that they’ve received beckons them to yearn for something more – spiritual growth, service to others, especially those in need, community and dialogue with others on service and spirituality. Their hearts tell them to give of themselves. And they listen. Is this where God speaks?
This is what is unique about IVC. People can volunteer anywhere. But when applying and joining IVC, there is a careful discernment process and the result is that their hearts are fulfilled when their passions are prayerfully matched by our Regional Directors with service sites that value and need their particular gifts and put them to use impacting those struggling with poverty. The reflection on the service all year, with their hearts, is what fulfills them and keeps Volunteers coming back to serve again and again. Is this how God heals?
This service prompted by the call in the heart is exactly what St. Ignatius wrote about, as Fr. David L. Fleming, SJ, writes about in What is Ignatian Spirituality?. St. Ignatius described the spiritual exercises as useful for, “strengthening and supporting us in the effort to respond ever more faithfully to the love of God”, writes Fr. Fleming. We do so by responding with our heart to God’s movements in our lives. We strive to find God in all things, prayerfully, with discernment, using our hearts. And when we find Him, we respond through action and service.
We share a wonderful example this month of the Holy Spirit working through our Regional Directors. And then tell me – is this how God loves?
As we launch a new year – again with a record number of IVC members – let’s pray for our volunteers, our Regional Directors and all those who support this work – and pray especially for those who need us to serve them. May all we do heal.
From my heart to yours,