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wisdom wedIn previous Wisdom Wednesdays, I have told you about St. Ignatius being hit by a cannonball, an experience which led to very deep change in him and reshaped his whole life. I invited you to read about or watch videos about others’ cannonball moments and then to reflect on cannonball moments in your own life.

In a recent article on Ignatian Spirituality, writer Lisa Kelly identified some very important facts for us about cannonball moments. These may help you to draw graces from your own moments of sudden and unexpected change in your life.

Cannonball moments come like the proverbial ‘bolt from the blue’; unplanned and unexpected. We may live our life with discernment, always searching for what Divine Mystery wants from us, and yet suddenly, everything is topsy turvy and our carefully prayed over plans are impossible.

From this we learn that discernment is for the present moment and does not let us know the future. A cannonball happening or event is a sharp turn in our journey that will gradually unfold, influencing our future.

As with St. Ignatius, we find that these cannonball moments bring unexpected graces and we are invited into further discernment of their meaning in our lives and God’s action through them. They invite us to say 'yes,' to surrender, and to continue on our life journey as we face them with the help of those around us.

You may be able to identify more than one cannonball moment in your life. In a recent book, Dare to Dream, Pope Francis identifies three such moments in his life. He calls them "COVID moments," but it seems to me he is speaking of the same phenomenon. As I reflect on my own life, looking for cannonball moments, the first thing that pops into my head is a passage from Isaiah: "Each morning he wakes me to listen." (Is. 50:4)

I can remember where I was living when I first read this passage; I can picture myself sitting on the edge of a kitchen counter as I enthusiastically shared it with another Sister; I can list all the ways it has influenced me over the years. What have been cannonball moments in your life? What effect have they had on all that followed?

Sister Rosemary Fry


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