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Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola

"I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You.'"
Psalm 16:2 (ESV)

Born in 1491, Ignatius grew up in a family with 13 children, his father a noble in northern Spain. As just one child among many, Ignatius dreamed only of romance and of making a name for himself by joining the military.

He thought his wish had been granted as he rapidly rose through the ranks in the army. But as he fought in a battle against the French, he was struck by a cannonball, shattering both his leg and his hopes of great deeds and military fame.

It was during his time of recovery that Ignatius began reading the Gospels and the stories of saints who had devoted their lives to Christ. Most people only have one moment, two if they're lucky, when they face a crossroads that will change the entire direction of their lives. Ignatius found himself at this moment, and he would not turn away.

Ignatius was captivated with the life of Jesus and inspired by the devotion of past men and women of faith. He devoted the rest of his life to two great aims: Knowing God and serving with all his might. His boyhood dreams of "great deeds and military fame" became dreams of great deeds for the glory of God. His lifelong motto was ad majoram Dei gloriam –– "for the greater glory of God."

He compiled his prayers and insights in a book entitled "Spiritual Exercises," which would become one of the most influential books on Spiritual Formation ever written. In 1534, at the age of 43, Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, which you may know as the Jesuits. He described the Society as "contemplatives in action."

Contemplatives...men devoted to prayer. Contemplatives...men of prayer who refused to stay cloistered in an abbey. The influence of these men of prayer and action is still present today in the life of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope in the history of the Catholic church, and all those who follow his example.

So, who was this Ignatius of Loyola?

A man whose life was consumed with the pursuit of personal glory found his dreams –– and his very body –– completely shattered. Yet it was in his despair that Ignatius discovered the hope that would drive him for the rest of his life. 

Where are you? Where do you find yourself right now, in this present moment? What consumes your dreams? I pray that you will find hope in the same Gospel that changed his life.

And may this prayer penned by Ignatius become your own.

Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.  
You have given me all that I have, all that I am,  
      and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me.  
Give me only your love and your grace.  
      With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.  


Evan Smith

wants to be a man who is marked by a hunger for God. Born and raised in Texas, he grew up the third-born of 7 kids and loved (almost) every minute of it! He majored in New Testament studies at Ozark Christian College, and also studied Ministry at Christ's Church of the Valley in Phoenix. He now makes his home in Dallas, is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Breanna, and has two wonderful kids, Hannah Joy and Peter. 

The God who came, still comes. The God who spoke, still speaks.”

Evan's Website

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