An Ignatian Guide to a Wrinkle in Time

Excerpt from America Magazine, An Ignatian Guide to A Wrinkle in Time, March 2018

“…If you have ever dabbled in Ignatian spirituality, there is a lot to marvel at in this movie. When Mrs. Which explains how the darkness works to rob us of our potential, it is a wonderful and captivating explanation of the tricks of the evil spirit.

In one instructive scene, Mrs. Which shows Meg the memories of the three young children and their school teachers. The memories serve as examples of how we lose hope and listen to the voice of “the accuser” that tells us we are not enough or that we do not measure up. And if Oprah explaining hope makes you groan, I refer you to the previous paragraphs. Feel free to reread them as often as needed; repetition is a key method used in the Spiritual Exercises. For my part, I will definitely use that scene next time I am presenting on Ignatian prayer. A key tenet of this type of prayer is to be attentive to the fact that God can speak to us in our memories and imaginations.

A truly Ignatian guide to the film would encourage people to see this movie as a way into our emotions.

“A Wrinkle In Time” does not try to defuse emotional moments with snark or asides. Neither will a good Ignatian spiritual director. God speaks to us in those raw, unprotected emotions. The filmmakers continually asks how the world should be, with an earnestness that is almost painful. The question is relentless, and I had to fight a desire to scream at the young protagonists, “But the world is too broken, you’ll realize this and give up when you get older.”

A truly Ignatian guide to the film would encourage people to see this movie as a way into our emotions. We can watch it with a spirit of imagination and earnestly explore the themes of the film, or we can hedge our bets and protect ourselves from the fear of being embarrassed by our raw, childlike potential for wonder and amazement—that wild-eyed part of us that imagines we might actually be able to save the entire universe with love.

Protecting ourselves from these emotions is at the heart of the invitation of the IT, the evil that dwells in the center of the darkness. If we take no chances, we will not ever be embarrassed or have our hearts broken. Sadly, we will not be able to love either. Christians (and perhaps even OutKast) have a name for that place; we call it hell.

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