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.
If there was ever a prayer for the Church Militant, it is this prayer of St. Ignatius. If the lay Catholic would say this prayer daily, what a difference there would be in the families, parishes, universal Church.
Let me unpack this prayer and show how it is connected to dying to self.
- Generosity. The life of a true Jesuit would be a definition of generosity-giving up one's will to God, as we saw in the Suscipe, indicates a generous spirit. And, remember, God will not be outdone in generosity.
- Service, but as taught by God. Service in God is completely detached, objective, and never self-seeking. There is no room for the ego in true service to God.
- Giving without cost....a parent knows this duty; a husband or wife knows this duty; many of our jobs demand such service without taking a look at the cost. How much more so for the building of the Kingdom...?
- Fighting and not even looking at one's wounds-a good self-forgetfulness. Today, some young man told me he responded to the needs of his neighbors because he needed to do mortification for his sins--this is a healthy forgetfulness of pain and suffering when going out of one's way for another.
- Not seeking rest--how many of us feel "entitled" to vacations, self-renewal days, and not find the task at hand refreshing because we are doing things for the wrong reasons?
- No reward....none....just working out of sheer love for God and His creatures.
- The will of God is the center of Jesuit dying to self--absolutely, not my will, but Thy will be done.
This little prayer could be memorized by any lay person and said during the day.
A true framework for out prayer is self-denial.
to be continued... one more on the Jesuits later...........