7/31/22

NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 7/31

On Sundays, Night Prayer usually focuses on an element from the scriptures of the day's mass but since I'm on vacation and didn't preach today, I'm turning to Saint Ignatius of Loyola whose feast this is.  Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits).  Ignatius' strong influence on Christian prayer and spirituality cannot be under-estimated. In my own life, I've had Jesuit priests as my spiritual director for more than thirty years of my life - a great gift and blessing!
 

Saint Ignatius of Loyola by Jusepe de Ribera









 
To begin our prayer, let's spend a few minutes with Ignatius' First Principle and Foundation. Please, don't let the title scare you away!  It's much simpler than it sounds - and very deserving of our attention and reflection...

The First Principle and Foundation

The goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us and gave us life.
Our own response of love 
     allows God's life to flow into us - without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God,
    presented to us so that we can know God more easily
        and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
    insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
    they displace God
        and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, 
    we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts 
        insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
    wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
    a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
    I want and I choose what better leads
        to God's deepening his life in me.

(A paraphrase of Ignatius' words by David L. Fleming, S.J.)

Let us pray...

Help me accept everything in my life, Lord,
    my sorrows as well as my joys,
        as your gift to me...
 
Grant me the wisdom
    to hold all things in balance and in perspective,
        insofar as I am able and your grace allows...

Let nothing in my life 
    overshadow the gift of your mercy
        or distract me from your love...

Help me find in all things
    your invitation for me to draw closer to you
        the source of my life and peace...

Let this be my one desire, Lord:
    to choose, always, what leads me to
        and deepens your life within me...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep rest in your peace...


Amen. 
 
These Alone Are Enough by Dan Schutte
 
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Take my heart, O Lord, take my hopes and dreams.
Take my mind with all its plans and schemes.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.

Take my thoughts, Oh Lord, and my memory.
Take my tears, my joys, my liberty.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.

I surrender, Lord, all I have and hold.
I return to you your gifts untold.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.

When the darkness falls on my final days,
take the very breath that sang your praise.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.

  

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