Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Take Lord, Receive"

Today is the feast day of the founder of my religious order, the Jesuits. It's the feast of St. Ignatius who was so in love with Jesus and so wanted his companions to share that same love, that he called his congregation the Company or Society of Jesus. He did not want it to be named after him. His disciples were not to be followers of Ignatius but followers of Jesus.

I'm at the Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota and I can't think of a better place or way to be celebrating the feast. One of the great gifts that God gave to the world through St. Ignatius was his retreat manual which was based on his own spiritul experiences. It's called, simply, "The Spiritual Exercises." I'm giving those "Exercises" to a group of 56 men and in giving them I'm blessed to be experiencing as well their grace.

"The Spiritual Exercises" are the basis for what we call "the simple and profound way of life" that is the Apostleship of Prayer. It really is very simple. The "Exercises" help me to know that God loves me very much and has given me everything that I am and have. How should I respond to such love? With all my love, giving all to God in a return of love for love. The "Exercises" end with a simple prayer of offering which in Latin is known as "The Suscipe." It's one of my favorite prayers and I use it every morning along with a few others when I wake up and before I get out of bed. The version I use goes like this:

Take Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will, all that I have and hold and possess. You have given all to me; to You, O Lord, I return all it. All is Yours. Dispose of it wholly according to Your will. All that I ask is for Your love and Your grace. With these I am rich enough and want for nothing more.

This prayer is basically the culmination of the "Spiritual Exercises." It is an offering of love that can be renewed every day with the Daily or Morning Offering Prayer. Thus the daily offering spirituality of the Apostleship of Prayer flows naturally from "The Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius and it should be no surprise that the Apostleship was founded by a Jesuit.

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