July 31

Feast of Ignatius of Loyola

Reflection

Today we remember Ignatius of Loyola. His Spiritual Exercises and the work of the Jesuits have had a profound effect on many people.

St. Ignatius, from the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises:

God who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows
God’s life to flow into us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we
can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all of these gifts of God
insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads to the deepening of God’s life in me.

 

Prayer

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.
I return it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and your grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.
St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises

Action

Read the Spiritual Exercises. If there is an opportunity to participate in them consider doing so.

Suggested Reading

Teach us to give and not to count the cost.
Saint Ignatius

 It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.
Saint Ignatius

I wish not merely to be called Christian, but also to be Christian.
Saint Ignatius

For those who love, nothing is too difficult, especially when it is done for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Saint Ignatius

May God our Lord never let me harm anyone when I cannot help him!
Saint Ignatius

 All the things in this world are gifts of God, created for us, to be the means by which we can come to know him better, love him more surely, and serve him more faithfully.
Saint Ignatius

Love is shown more in deeds than in words.
St. Ignatius of Loyola

He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.
St. Ignatius of Loyola

Note:

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are a month-long program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices that help Catholic faith become more fully alive in the everyday life of contemporary people. It is set out in a brief manual or handbook: sparse, taciturn, and practical. It presents a formulation of Ignatius’ spirituality in a series of prayer exercises, thought experiments, and examinations of consciousness—designed to help a retreatant (usually with the aid of a spiritual director) to experience a deeper conversion into life with God in Christ, to allow our personal stories to be interpreted by being subsumed in a Story of God.

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