Monday, April 11, 2011

Meditation: The Prayer of St. Ignatius

I went to a Jesuit college, so I have a special fondness for Ignatian Spirituality.  One of my favorite prayers, introduced to me as, "The Prayer of St. Ignatius," is a wonderful song of supplication.  It entreats God to grant the grace of unconditional love on the supplicant.  I figure a brief meditation on it is a good way to start the work-week, especially as we struggle through the final ten or so days of Lent.

Recall that, In order to meditate properly, there are a few things we need to do:
      Adopt a relaxed but upright posture to allow for proper breathing.
      Breathe in, deeply and slowly, through the nose, and breathe out through the mouth.
      Ask the Lord to guide our thoughts.

St. Ignatius, Christ freed you from worldly desires so that you could fight for Him.  Intercede for us, so that we, too, can joyfully detach ourselves from the things of this world and more perfectly love Christ and one another.  We pray, slowly and thoughtfully:

Lord, teach me to be 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.

Generosity is hard.  It demands that we give, even when we are in need.  It urges us to spend ourselves completely, even when we are weak.  It calls us to fight for the defenseless, even when we are alone.  But how can we not be generous, when Christ has been so generous to us?

Think of those people to whom you are called to be generous this day.  How will you be Christ to them?  How will you be Christ to the unexpected guest or stranger?  How will you be Christ to those people you find hardest to love?

Do not forget to accept Christ's generosity.  He longs to give Himself to you every day, every hour, every moment.  There are times when we are called to receive first, and then to give.  Let Christ love you this day.

Take three deep, slow breaths.  Breathe in Christ's love, and breath out Christ's love.

Now, return to the work of the day with a generous spirit.

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