Today the Catholic Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, more commonly known as the Jesuits.
Contrary to what a lot of people believe about the Jesuits, their spirituality is a strict one, and one that, personally, I find very relevant in today’s world. As our resident Jesuit priest pointed out this morning at Mass, as important as imagination and feelings are to Ignatian spirituality, for Ignatius, there was no relationship with God without a relationship with the Church.
Ignatius’s conversion did not happen in a single moment; rather there were a couple of stages through which he was able to let go of his dreams of honor and prestige and give himself completely to Christ. Isn’t it encouraging to know that saints don’t always—in fact, often don’t—start out that way? Ignatius’s training as a soldier influenced his spirituality and that of his order, so that one of the most important tenets is the complete giving of oneself to God. That’s where this, the Suscipe, comes from:
Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You have given all to me.
To You, Lord, I return it.
All is yours.
Dispose of it wholly according to Your will.
Give me Your love and Your grace.
This is sufficient for me.
I love this feast day. I would like to share why with the help of a poorly-designed flow chart.
St. Ignatius of Loyola –> Jesuits –> Boston College –> these girls
and these prayers
and the opportunity to stay close to this guy throughout college
and travel to Belize, Germany, and three other countries
and work with fabulous English, German, and theology professors, plus campus ministers, who shared things like this with me
Love and Fear
There are only two feelings. Love and fear.
There are only two languages. Love and fear.
There are only two activities. Love and fear.
There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks,
two results. Love and fear.
Love and fear.
—from “A Common Prayer” by Leunig
and become the person, the wife, the mom I am today.
Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola!