Optional Memorial of Saint Rose of Lima, Virgin

You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind.
This is the greatest and the first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

It’s likely that Saint Ignatius of Loyola knew well this passage from Matthew 22.  For, we read at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, in the section entitled “Principle and Foundation”:

“Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.  The other things on the face of the earth are created for the human beings, to help them in the pursuit of the end for which they are created … Consequently, on our part we ought not to seek health rather than sickness, wealth rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on in all other matters.  Rather, we ought to desire and choose only that which is more conducive to the end for which we are created.”

If you find either the passage from Matthew or the passage from Saint Ignatius difficult, you’re not alone!

In the early years of the Society of Jesus, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Ignatius’ exercises were rarely given in their fullest form, that is, all four “weeks.”  Most people, who undertook the exercises with a Jesuit director, only meditated on the first “week,” and still many others never were able to appropriate the graces of loving and serving God above all else and of indifference toward the gifts that God provides in order to aid us in serving Him in all things.

Perhaps a reflection for today is to ask yourself: Do I desire, above all else, to praise, revere, and serve God?  If not, do I have the desire for the desire to do this?  It may sound hokey, but Ignatius believed in this this so-called desire for the desire as the seedling of greater fruit to come in one’s relationship with God.

August 23rd, 2013