Wednesday, July 22, 2015

For the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Holy Mother Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola on July 31. While healing from a cannonball wound received in battle, Ignatius read about Christ and turned entirely to God, later founding the Jesuit order. St. Ignatius made the restoration of piety among Catholics his first concern, increasing the beauty of sacred places, providing catechetical instruction, increasing the frequency of sacraments, and giving help to any in need. His zeal for spreading God's love and the salvation of souls was marvelous, and he worked at these tirelessly.
St. Ignatius is known by many for his book the Spiritual Exercises, which are a set of meditations and prayers focused on detaching the soul from the world and finding God's will for your life and are a spiritual treasure that would be wonderful to use to increase one's devotion.

In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius strongly recommends making a daily examination of conscience to take stock of one's day. If this is not part of your schedule, try to include it. It recalls the Morning Offering and examines the day with love, contrition, and gratitude.

To make an examination, St Ignatius suggests five steps. In summary they are:

***Recall you are in the presence of God Who is your Creator and Who loves you. Give thanks to God for this day's gifts. Ask for the Holy Spirit's help to examine yourself without condemnation or complacency. Now examine how you lived this day in relation to God, to neighbor, and to self. Review the day, hour by hour. What was God trying to tell you through the events and the people you encountered today? Pray words of reconciliation and resolve. Having reviewed this day of your life, look upon yourself with compassion and see your need for God, remembering His love for you. Express sorrow for sin, give thanks for grace, and praise God for the times you responded in ways that allowed you to better see God's life. Most of all, thank God for how He used you as an instrument of his love, peace, and mercy.
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St. Ignatius also wrote a prayer named the Suscipe; suscipe is the Latin word for receive. This prayer was not included in St. Ignatius' four week Spiritual Exercises,. Instead St. Ignatius attached the Suscipe to the end of the Exercises as additional material for the “contemplation for attaining love.” At this point Ignatius focused on the immeasurable love of God for all of creation and all that God has given, even His Life. Then Ignatius ponders what he might offer to such a loving God, and as the prayer relates, the answer is himself. The Suscipe is a brief but beautiful prayer that everyone could use as a form of meditation and offering to God.

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. All that I am and all that I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.
--St. Ignatius of Loyola

God bless!

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