I overheard two women talking. One was telling the other about her husband’s miraculous cure. “If it had not been for all the prayers of so many people, my husband would have died,” one said to the other. There was another duo of women standing close by. One was weeping softly to the other, “why did my child die? I prayed, we all prayed. Did God not want my child to live? Why not? Are my prayers not as good as those of others? What about the hundreds of thousands of children who starve to death each year because they don’t have enough to eat. Or the mothers who nurse their infants until their own bodies are no longer able to support the own lives much less the lives of their infants. Or the many war casualties?”
“ He stretched out his hand, touched him…I will do it. Be made clean…”
How are we to receive the goodnews of the gospel? St. Ignatius of Loyola encourages us to be indifferent to our own state in life. To let myself be so overwhelmed by the intimate love of Jesus that I am no longer preoccupied with my own health, wealth and wellbeing. (This assumes a healthy perspective, not foolish abandon.) Jesus’ love would be my be and end all. My heart and eyes focus with the heart and eyes of Jesus. My mind, heart and body do his work.
To be indifferent to my own state of wellbeing does not translate into being indifferent to another’s health and well being. In truth it is just the opposite. Conversely the more indifferent I am to my own situation, the more concerned, sensitive and attentive I become regarding the other.
Ignatian indifference expresses a deep love of Jesus, of self in relationship with Jesus and of the other. The gospel in total calls me into intimacy with Jesus and invites me beyond myself toward the needs of others. “He reached out his hand…”
Who do I reach out to? Who am I touching in love and concern? Whose hungry children do I feed? Whose mother or grandmother do I spend time with? Whose story do I joyfully listen to?
The goodnews is that we are all invited into the joy of personal indifference, while confronting the indifference of the world. This is the wish of the Lord.
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