One way that I integrate what I am learning through dialogue and experience, is to map new insights and their relationship to one another. These maps change as new interior and apostolic experiences help me see something more clearly, or simply in a new way.
The first map chronicles my learning from November 2017, when I had just returned from the 30-Day Spiritual Exercises, through the end of January 2018, when I began the other apostolic experiments in earnest.
February, the “unmapped” month, was very difficult, full of uncertainty and challenging new experiences both in dialogue with others and in apostolic work. In March, these challenges began to make more sense as I felt myself growing in spiritual maturity, through bringing both the desolations and the consolations to God. The map below represents how my early understanding, which was based on concepts “outside of myself,” derived from the Exercises and spiritual conversation with mentors, became much more personal and concrete through experience and reflection.
Mapping can be a valuable tool. As I look at these maps, I recollect many experiences through which God shaped me. I also appreciate the difference in quality of light: the afternoon sun of late January vs. late April! There is a sense of time, and progress.