Grace: not to be deaf to the Lord’s call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will.
Text for Prayer: Spiritual Exercises 91-98
Reflection: One of the hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality is the virtue of magnanimity, greatness of heart. Ignatius, being a former soldier and member of a royal court, transformed the ideals of that system and directed them toward Christian ends. In the royal court, the magnanimous man was one who devoted himself to great ventures and high ideals in the service of a king or queen. For Ignatius, Christian magnanimity also strives after high ideals and great ventures, but all oriented toward Christ and His Kingdom.
In today’s meditation upon the Kingdom of Christ, we want to keep in mind, first of all, that the desire within our heart is brought to fruition, not by ourselves, but by our relationship to Jesus. We begin our meditation asking our Lord for the grace “not to be deaf to His call, but prompt and diligent to accomplish His most holy will.”
We take the attitude of the lowly page, waiting in anguish for that moment when the King looks our way and finally calls us to action. Imagine that page who has spent his life preparing for the day when he might be of some small service. Then consider the moment when the good and noble king arrives to announce to his subjects that he has a glorious campaign in mind, how he seeks to go throughout the world in order to vanquish barbarism and lift up lands to a noble order. The campaign would be difficult. There would be evenings of cold and hunger. There would be moments where one would doubt his ability to accomplish the task before him. But those who share in the sufferings will share all the more in the glory. Consider the burning heart of the magnanimous page who devotes himself to a good and generous king. Consider also the pusillanimous (small-hearted) page who sluggardly returns to his home to enjoy his private comfort. Who would you rather be?
Having prepared your mind with this or some other analogy of an earthly ruler, then shift your attention to Christ who has also gone out into the world and called subjects to himself. He also has a campaign in mind to establish God’s Kingdom in the hearts of all. Being faithful to the call He received from His Father, Jesus suffered trial and temptation, cold and hunger, rejection and death. But the Father raised His Son to glory, and from the Father’s right hand Jesus still calls us into his service. We will suffer the same trials as He, but we will also share in the glory of the Father. 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: How does Jesus appear to you in this mediation? What is your reaction when you hear Jesus call you? In what way does the Call of Christ set your heart ablaze? How does your experience of praying through your own sin affect how you pray with this meditation?