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An Ignatian Contemplation Retreat

Moment 4

Our Longing for God - The Soul Thirsts



God designed us to desire.



Prayer: To ask God for the grace to seek and discern my deepest desires.


“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”

St. Augustine



This longing, this deep thirst inside of us, is our soul’s restless desire for God, is a gift of grace given to us out of His desire and love for us.


“Desire is a key part of spirituality because desire is a key way that God's voice is heard in our lives. And our deepest desire, planted within us, is our desire for God. 

The deep longings of our hearts are our holy desires. Not only desires for physical healing, but also the desire for change, for growth, for a fuller life. Our deepest desires are those desires that lead us to become who we are, are also God's desires for us. They are ways that God speaks to you directly. Desire helps us find our way. But we first have to know them.

Expressing our desires brings us into a closer relationship with God …(”Ask and you shall receive”). When we tell God our desires, our relationship to God deepens. Desire is a primary way that God leads people to discover who they are and what they are meant to do. A person feels an attraction to being a doctor, or a lawyer, or a teacher, and so discovers his or her "vocation."

Today desire is often confused with selfish wants. But our selfish wants are different from our deep, heartfelt longings, which lead us to God. And it takes time to be able to discern between the two kinds of desires. “ Fr. James Martin


His Good Purpose  (Philippians 2:13)

“For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work.”


My Plans for you  (Jer 29:11-14)

 “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.  When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, and I will change your lot; I will gather you together...”

Ask & Seek  (Matt 7:7-8)

Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.


Delight  (Psalm 37:4,5-7)

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.


I Will Give you  (2 Chronicles 1:7)

“Whatever you ask, I will give you,” says the Lord.



  • What words or phrases speak most to you? 

  • How do they make you feel?

  • Comforted?





As you read David’s words, how do they speak of his deep desire and longing? what words here could speak for you? What would be an image or words that speak of your feelings of thirst in your longings?



My soul longs

As the deer panteth for the water; so my soul longeth after Thee. (Ps 42:1)


My soul thirsts (Ps 63)

Ardent Longing for God - A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah

O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
3 I look to you in the sanctuary
    to see your power and glory.
4 For your love is better than life;[b]
    my lips shall ever praise you!

5 I will bless you as long as I live;
    I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
6 My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
    with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
7 I think of you upon my bed,
    I remember you through the watches of the night
8 You indeed are my savior,
    and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.


Blessed I shall Give 

 (Matt 11, John 4, Matt 5)


  • “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”


  • “Come to me… learn from me… you will find rest for your souls”

  • “Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”


  • What comes up for you in hearing Jesus speak these words to you?



The Examen: Desire

What do you desire of me?


  • As you sit with God see Jesus’ face before you, looking at you with love in his eyes.

Listen to God speaking to you, asking this: “What do you desire of me “

Sit with that question for a while before you try to answer

  • What do you ask of God today?

What do you need?

What do you desire?

Simply ask God for that particular grace, then leave it in His hands.

  • Now using prayerful imagination listed for anything the Lord might be trying to tell you at this moment.

Sit with Jesus for a while. 




How did it feel to imagine God asking you what you desired?

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