To all of our readers and friends, the editors and staff of America wish you a Happy Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.
On our founder’s feast day, here are two of his most popular prayers, and one of his most popular meditations.
The first is a prayer often called the Suscipe, from its first word, in Latin, and comes directly from his classic text, the Spiritual Exercises. It is the final prayer of the Exercises, summing up a person’s complete offering of himself or herself to Christ at the end of four weeks of prayer. Many of my spiritual directors have rightly called it a goal--albeit a challenging one--for every Christian man and woman. It is a prayer of surrender and trust. The second is called the "Prayer for Generosity" and has long been used in Jesuit classrooms around the world. The final meditation is his "Principle and Foundation" which begins his Spiritual Exercises, and concisely expresses the Ignatian worldview, with its great emphasis on freedom and love.
Happy Feast Day!
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
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.
The Prayer for Generosity
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.
The "Principle and Foundation"
The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.
James Martin, SJ