Reimagining Your Faith Journey
by Fr Learoy Rodrigues SJ
Pauline Publications, Mumbai; ISBN: 978-93-93782-31-1; Number of pages: 160; Price: Rs 190/-
The book 'Reimagining your Faith Journey' is a blend of Ignatian Spirituality, Sacred Scripture, and the author's own personal experiences. The style is simple, conversational, and very grounded in daily life. This makes the book accessible and relatable. Fr Learoy has tried to expound the tenets of Ignatian Spirituality and Scripture as lived out through one's own life experience. Personally, some of the accounts that the author has shared have resonated with my own spiritual journey, and have helped me to understand things through a faith lens.
One of the stories in the book that caught my attention was that of the biblical encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Here, Fr Learoy speaks about special interventions by God. Philip intervened in the life of that eunuch at just the right time, in an appropriate way, and valued the eunuch's current struggles of life. Reading this, I was reminded of an experience I once had. As a Jesuit novice, I had set out on a pilgrimage from Belgaum to Goa, begging for food along the way. With my companion, I walked for three days. On one of the days, while walking along the ghats, we were terribly hungry. It was dark and cold. We knew we'd have to sleep hungry. Yet, God, from out of nowhere, sent us help in the form of a person who offered us some food. This was just like Philip providentially entering into the life of that Ethiopian eunuch. The book 'Reimagining Your faith Journey' has thus stirred up memories in me, and has made me reconnect with experiences when God intervened most powerfully in my own life.
There was one other instance when my companions and I started discussing a scripture reflection from the book - about Jesus healing a blind man by applying a mixture of mud and saliva. My first reaction was "Yuck! That's messy". But Fr Learoy came up with a very novel and relatable explanation of this scripture scene. He says that saliva stands for bodily refuse, and at the same time, it has healing properties. Mud which is looked upon as dirt also signifies potential for growth. This broadened my perspective on this particular scripture scene. It made me understand that true healing lies in what I may have come to consider the messiness of my life. Many other stories and reflections in the book got me pondering reflectively on my own spiritual journey.
According to the author, 'This book is built on the premise that a faith journey unfolds. It is never static. It has movement. It has dynamism. Through life, we deepen certain aspects of faith. We probably outlive certain faith practices too. But faith remains. God remains. And it is for us to constantly discern how God meets us, especially in the depths within, in newer and often unexpected ways. This book is thus an invitation for all of us to come face to face with our own personalised and ever-evolving understanding of God.'
Smith Tuscano, SJ