Notes: We know already that it is very important to reflect on the introductory prayer. We should also bear in mind that we should not be in a hurry while meditating. Today we want to consider all the “means” that God employs to show us His Love, and the use to which we should put these “means”.
Grace: I beseech you, Lord, to direct all my actions by Your inspiration, to carry them on by Your gracious help, so that every intention and operation of mine may begin always from You and through You be happily ended.
Reflections: Today we reflect further on our human life and how to live in order to achieve its purpose well. Specifically we consider more deeply this sentence from the Exercises of St Ignatius: «The other things on the face of the earth were created for humans, to help them in pursuing the end for which they were created.» Here’s how Ignatius reveals some of the challenging implications of that sentence: «We ought to use these things to the extent that they help us towards our end, and free ourselves from them to the extent that they hinder us from it. To attain this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, so that we do not to seek wealth rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on. Rather, we ought to desire and choose only that which is most conducive to the end for which we were created.»
Being ‘indifferent,’ in Ignatius’s words, means being ‘free’: that is we are free from being so attached, addicted, enslaved or bewitched by any created or merely human thing that it gets in the way of living according to our purpose. That is, we do not want to become so obsessed with living a successful earthly life that our life becomes about serving ourselves and not serving God and following His plan. We want to be free from anything that could prevent us from being free for our true purpose. We want to put the love of God above any merely human love. We want to live a balanced, ordered life: a life in which we have a proper relationship with other persons, with money and with things, so that we don’t become enslaved by an attachment to any of them. While created things can help us achieve our purpose, they can also distract us from it if we become focused on them rather than on our greater purpose. We shouldn’t confuse earthly ambitions with the purpose of life and allow them to take the place of God.
Make a list of people you admire in this regard. What is it that you admire in them? Maybe you can picture holy people of the past or people you know now, whose lives show this healthy balance and freedom. This is not the time to judge yourself on where you may be falling short (you will reflect on your own performance later). For the moment, we are trying to develop a clear sense of purpose, and a clear sense of the ideals we want to aspire to in our life.
Psalm 8. What is a frail human, that you should be mindful of him?
Romans 8: 5-6; 12-18. All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Philippians 1:21-26; 3:7-16; 4:10-13. Here and now, how closely can I identify with the attitude of Saint Paul?
Final Colloquy: Sum up what has come to mind in your time of prayer, talking to Jesus as one friend does to another. Be honest with him about what you have discovered on this stage of your journey.