Finding God in all things
Saint Ignatius by Fr. Rodny Kissinger, S.J.
The sixteenth century was remarkable for its colorful parade of
extraordinary personalities; personalities that were destined to
influence, for good or evil, all succeeding generations. In that
long, brilliant line of statesmen, scholars, reformers and
revolutionaries, almost hidden from view, limped a short,
bald-headed Spaniard. He had a small book tucked under his
arm, and a spirituality buried deep in his heart. The man was
Ignatius Loyola, the book was the Spiritual Exercises, and the
spirituality was to be "contemplative in action" by "finding God
in all things."
The first twenty-five years of Ignatiusí life
was given over entirely to the vanities of the world. He tells us
that he took great delight in the use of military weapons, and had
an almost insatiable craving for the praise and the glory of the
world. The turning point of his life came at the age of thirty when
he was wounded during a battle against the French. His right leg had
been badly shattered and vanity forced him to undergo several very
painful operations. Despite the cruel twisting and tugging of the
doctors, his right leg remained shorter than his left to the end of
During his long weeks of convalescence, Ignatius asked for some
romantic novels to read. Instead he was given two other books that
he had little taste for: The Life of Christ, and The Lives of the
Saints. For the want of something else to do, he began to read these
books. Gradually, he began to see the world in its true perspective.
Realizing that he had found the pearl of great price he was willing
to sell all to buy it. He resolved to do two things when he got up
from his sick bed: he would do penance for his sins and transfer his
allegiance from the King of Spain to the King of Kings.
He went to the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat, made a general
confession and spent the night in vigil before the shrine of Our
Lady of Montserrat. Laying down his sword and putting on the garb
of a pilgrim, he journeyed to the town of Manresa. Daily he retired
to a cave along the Cardoner River, where he began to make notes of
his spiritual experiences.
These notes were to become The Spiritual Exercises
which were destined
to become the source and the dynamic of the Society of Jesus, and
produce such saints as Francis Xavier, Peter Canisius, Robert Bellarmine,
Peter Claver, John Francis Regis, Edmund Campion, Isaac Jogues, Aloysius
Gonzaga, and John Berchmans. It has been said that only the New Testament
and Thomas Kempisí Imitation of Christ
has had more influence in Western
Christianity than the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
Ignatius Loyola has been dead for more than four hundred-fifty years
but he lives on today in the lives of millions of priests, religious and
laity who, formed by the same Spiritual Exercises, are "contemplatives in
action," who are "finding God in all things." Ignatius is telling us that
we donít have to flee to the desert or to a monastery cell to be
contemplative. To be contemplative in action is not a contradiction.
It is a paradox. Our faith teaches us that God is TRANSCENDENT, God is
IMMANENT and God is TRANSPARENT in His creation.
Ignatius is telling us that "reality is more romantic and more mysterious
than fiction. We live in a wonderful grace-filled world where everyone we
meet and everything we see is a visible sign of invisible reality, the
footprints of God, a sign of the love of God for us. Every bush is burning.
The hills are mute but how they speak of God. There are tongues in
trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stone, and God in everything.
I see his blood upon the rose and in the stars the glory of his eyes.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his
handiwork. In Him we live and move and have our being. Poems are made
by fools like me but only God can make a tree."
God does not work in a vacuum. God works in the real world. God deals with
us as human beings. God sanctifies us through our daily actions, our fears,
failures and yes, even our sins. He is the potter, we are the clay. It is a
false dichotomy to divide reality into the sacred and the secular; to
departmentalize our lives so that we are Christians for a few hours a week
and then live as pagans for the rest of the time.
Ignatian spirituality is easily discernible. How? By joy; joy is the most
infallible sign of Ignatian spirituality. Why? Because joy is the most
infallible sign of the AWARENESS of the presence of God. What a tragedy to
go through life and never experience this joy!
Prayer for Generosity
Dear Lord, teach me
to ge generous.
Teach me to serve You
as You deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing
that I do Your will. Amen
Take, O Lord,
and receive all my liberty,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To You, Lord, I return it.
Everything is Yours;
do with it what You will.
Give me only Your love
and Your grace.
That is enough for me. Amen
Prayer Against Depression
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your Presence,
Your Love and Your Strength.
Help us to have perfect trust
in Your protecting love
and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us.
For, living close to You,
we shall see Your Hand,
Your Will through all things. Amen
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
O Good Jesus, hear me
Within Thy wounds, shelter me
From turning away, keep me
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
Into Your presence, lead me
To praise You with all Your saints
Forever and ever. Amen
"God freely created us so that we might know,
love, and serve Him in this life and be happy
with Him forever.
Godís purpose in creating us is to draw forth
from us a response of love and service here on
earth, so that we may attain our goal of
everlasting happiness with Him in heaven.
All the things in this world are gifts of God,
created for us, to be the means by which we
can come to know Him better, love Him more
surely, and serve Him more faithfully.
As a result, we ought to appreciate and use
these gifts of God insofar as they help us
toward our goal of loving service and union
But insofar as any created things hinder our
progress toward our goal, we ought to let
All of the above Prayers and Quotes
are by Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Saint Ignatius of Loyola by Gerard Seghers (1591-1651) and Jan Wildens (1586-1653.); Pinacoteca, Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy;
Saint Ignatious doing Penance in the Cave of Manresa,
by Juan De Valdes Leal (1622-1690, Spain);
July 31 - Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest and Founder of the Jesuits - "Go Forth and set the World on Fire"
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in the Most Holy Virgin Mary,
for the Glory of God
The Apostolic Blessing by the Holy See in Rome is bestowed (October 28, 2013)
Omnia ad majoren Dei Gloriam!
(All for the greater glory of God)
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