Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 7/31

St. Ignatius of Loyola by Meljohn Tatel


About today...  July 31 is the Feast of Saint Ignatius,  founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Ignatius' influence on prayer and spirituality cannot be underestimated. Personally, I've had a Jesuit priest as a spiritual director for the past 25 years and for the same period of time I've always made my annual retreat at Jesuit retreat houses.  This morning, for your prayer and reflection, I offer you The First Principle and Foundation (don't let the title scare you away!) with which Ignatius begins his Spiritual Exercises. The text below is a paraphrase of the same by David L. Fleming, S.J. In the icon above, Ignatius holds a book inscribed with the letters AMDG, the initial letters of the Latin motto of the Jesuits: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (All for God's greater glory!).

The First Principle and Foundation

The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us, 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.

Let's Pause for Prayer...

Help me accept everything in my life, Lord,
    as your gift to me...
Grant me the wisdom
    to hold all things in balance, in perspective...

Let not even the greatest of your gifts
    overshadow the gift of your grace in my life...

Help me see how everything in my life
    has potential for drawing me closer to you...

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






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