Flying and “Contemplatio ad Amorem.”


The crowning meditation of The Spiritual Exercises is the contemplation to achieve divine love. But, what has it got to do with flying a small airplane?

For me – lots.

Ignatius’ method of prayer, extending medieval mysticism into his times, is just the beginning.

Ok, it is pretty lame to say that extending medieval mysticism into Ignatius’s times is relationally similar to finding oneself in prayer in a small aircraft  – in the foothills, straddling the boundary between the prairies and the Rockies.

Courtesy of David St. Amand.

But God is taking care of me, setting the scene with mountains on one side, prairie on the other, an overwhelming sky, picturesque clouds, sunshine, no turbulence. All is restful, secure, protected, filled with hope. The flight is deeply mystical, an experiential falling in love, of freedom and earthly beauty.

It is the real stuff of where I long to be in prayer, why flying helps me pray.

God, taking care of all of us, the biosphere – today – allays present fears, doubt and depression and is a message of great comfort and hope, even in this violent and scary world.

As Samuel reminds us, in dark times, uncertain times, God is not confined, is in charge, wandering with me/us – forever.

Being not afraid though is tough!

Mary was unsure, frightened and at first didn’t get it. But with God in charge, the miracle of new life came to us in the face of all improbability.

David is supposed to be retired but enjoys being a husband, father, grandfather, friend, Jesuit alumnus, adult educator, writer and small business advisor. He flies his airplane as often as he can, for the absolute joy of it.


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