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Psalms for the spirit

In a recent podcast interview », Padraig Swan, Director of Faith and Service Programmes at Belvedere College SJ, spoke to Presbyterian minister Kiran Young Wimberly about how the psalms and the Examen (a review of the day as practised by St Ignatius) help us to pay attention to our inner selves in the messiness of everyday life.

Pádraig weaves together his background in Ignatian spirituality and in particular the practice of the daily Examen prayer, as well as his experience as a seminarian in Ireland and living with the Taizé community in France. Both Pádraig and Kiran are members of the Corrymeela Community of Peace and Reconciliation, based in Belfast.

Pádraig discusses the Ignatian approach of finding God in our feelings and emotions. He says that the Psalms help evoke this inner experience and invite us to a “call and response”. The Examen or ‘examination of consciousness’ complements the praying of the Psalms in the way that it connects the events of our day with our moods, enabling us to stay close to God.

Referring to the 150 psalms in the bible Pádraig says that many of them are full of comforting words and it’s a great help to know that we’ve got this compassionate God who cares for us.

The interview also features various recordings of certain psalms including one sung by Pádraig himself.

Pádraig Swan is originally from Carlow, but he has lived and worked in Dublin for many years. He is married to Colleen, and they have two children, Saoirse (8) and Seán (4). He has a long relationship with matters of faith and how faith meets the reality of human life. He worked in business for over twenty years, transitioning to young adult ministry, deepening encounters with Jesuit spirituality, and now as Director of Faith and Service Programmes at Belvedere College SJ, the Jesuit secondary school in Dublin. He also serves on the parish council of his local parish.