Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday After Ash Wednesday

Last weekend I visited a Jesuit retreat center. Inside the front door of the mail building was a plaque with this paraphrase of the "Foundation and First Principle" of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Consider, dear brother or sister, carrying these words with you throughout your desert pilgrimage this Lenten season as you make your way toward Jerusalem, Calvary and beyond.
Pax et Bonum,
Friar Rex
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 of 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 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 that 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.
          – St. Ignatius of Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, SJ 

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