||St. Ignatius of Loyola
Founder of the Society of Jesus
Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
|I really admire Ignatius. I'm tempted to share the story of
his life here, but that can be found on the web [at
this link]. I'm tempted to try to figure out why each of the
optional readings for this day might have been chosen, in light of Ignatius'
story. But, this is a "daily reflection" and so I feel drawn
to "reflect" a bit on this man I admire, in light of what he offers us
Ignatius knew that he was a loved sinner. That filled him with such gratitude that he desired with all his being to know, love and serve the one who loved him so mercifully. And, once his heart was on fire with a passionate desire to be with Jesus, he came to a spiritual freedom that was quite powerful, liberating him to serve others with all his heart.
Ignatius learned to acknowledge, distinguish, reflect upon, and discern the origin of the various movements within him. He wasn't afraid of contradictory desires inside of his heart. He found great power in embracing those deep desires that came to him from God, and great freedom in ridding himself of the desires he discovered within himself that came from the evil one.
Ignatius could find intimacy with God in all things. He used to say that anyone who could find intimacy with God in prayer could find their way back to intimacy with God through any means. Perhaps because he found grace in the messiest parts of his life, and because he wasn't afraid to wade around in his inner conflicting movements, Ignatius always trusted God was available to him in any experience. Anything at all - no matter how busy or troubling, good or bad, secular or simple, embarrassing or exhilarating - any experience could be the occasion and the means for an experience of intimacy with God.
Ignatius had a passion for others, and found it incredibly easy to be with others. It was all integrated for him. Jesus was totally for us and he had been completely with us. If Ignatius loved Jesus and wanted to be with Jesus, it was simply natural to be committed to others, as Jesus is.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if each of us could ask for the grace to experience ourselves as a loved sinner today? No matter what we've ever done, ever failed to do? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could ask for the courage to name the various desires in our hearts today? To name quite unattractive desires, that perhaps function to shape how we treat others? To name quite loving or heroic desires, that perhaps rarely get attention? What a great tribute to Ignatius of Loyola, and what glory and praise to our Lord and Savior, if throughout the world today, we would ask for the freedom to know and act upon those desires within us that are from God, and the freedom and peace to let go of those that are not! And what power there would be if all of us today were to become more aware of the opportunities for intimate closeness with our loving God, in the midst of whatever stretches us, embarrasses us, in whatever is our day to day duty or routine! "Lord, I know you are with me, in this place, forgiving me, encouraging me, inspiring me. Thank you." And, finally, what wondrous love would flow from our hearts, to the ends of the earth, if we all asked to be with Jesus, in being for and with others!
"Place us with Jesus, most loving God, for your greater glory and
the service of others!"
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