Thoughts for July 18 from Fr Willie Doyle

St Ignatius Loyola

I was greatly struck and helped yesterday by these words of the Imitation: “My child, let Me do with you what I will; I know what is good for you”. They gave me courage to place myself without reserve in God’s hands. How happy I feel now that I have done so and made my sacrifice.

COMMENT:Fr Doyle is of course referring here to the famous “Imitation of Christ”, a classic devotional manual of the early 15th Century which has been a staple part of the devotional and spiritual reading of devout Catholics (and indeed, of many Protestants) since that time.

Placing ourselves “without reserve in God’s hands” is the epitome of Ignatian indifference. But often, instead of giving without reserve, we can prefer to be like the Second Class of men, mentioned by Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises:

The second want to rid themselves of the attachment, but want so to rid themselves of it as to remain with the thing acquired, so that God should come where they want, and they do not decide to leave it in order to go to God, although it would be the best state for them

We more or less want God’s will, but we would embrace it a lot more quickly if His will happened to coincide with ours! Of course, this is a natural response. However, we should strive to overcome the natural response and try to acquire a supernatural one. It takes great detachment to move beyond the level of the second class of men.

Perhaps the following prayer of St Ignatius may help in following Fr Doyle’s example today:

Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess You have given me.
I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace;
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more.