March 20, 2014 |

Grace: Not to be deaf to the Lord’s call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will.

Text: Spiritual Exercises 91-98

Reflection: Today Ignatius calls us to ponder the call of an earthly king. Imagine his stirring speech as he inspires his citizens join him on a noble campaign for a just cause. He promises us that we shall have to go through hardships: going to bed hungry many nights, battling biting cold and fierce heat, arduous marches, doubts about our ability to succeed. We shall suffer much, but on the day of victory we shall share in the victory with the king.

Most of us today do not live under kings but we can still find parallels to what Ignatius is describing. We all have experiences of taking on hardships for the sake of a cause greater than ourselves.  Maybe it was being on a sports team in high school. Maybe it is marriage and raising a family. Maybe you felt this after 9/11. Whatever it might be, call to mind a time when you united yourself with others for a good purpose, even though it meant encountering difficulties. Recall what moved you, as you looked at the difficulties and still said “Yes!” Recall how you forgot about yourself and felt your heart on fire with generosity.

Now let us turn our minds to Christ, who also has called us to suffer hardships with Him before entering into glory with Him. He wants to bring the good news to all people, but this campaign will bring with it many difficulties.  There will be times of fatigue, self-doubt, setbacks and privation, but we have the promise of eternal life as well.  And we know that Christ has already suffered greatly and continues to suffer greatly with us, the Body of Christ. We know that the Father brought Him into His glory and wants to do the same for us. What is our response?

Ignatius composes a prayer to help us formulate how we might answer:

Eternal Lord of all things, in the presence of Thy infinite goodness, and of Thy glorious mother, and of all the saints of Thy heavenly court, this is the offering of myself which I make with Thy favor and help.  I protest that it is my earnest desire and my deliberate choice, provided only it is for Thy greater service and praise, to imitate Thee in bearing all wrongs and all abuse and all poverty, both actual and spiritual, should Thy most holy majesty deign to choose and admit me to such a state and way of life.

Questions:  What is Jesus saying as He calls you?  What happens when you ponder these words? What is the response you want to give to Him?

March 20th, 2014 | |