Through knowing and following Jesus, whom I desire to love always more
Who more than Jesus had an ordered life? He was always attuned to the Father’s will, which he fulfilled to the very end on the wood of the Cross. Therefore for Ignatius it was natural to seek order in life through the lived experience of Jesus, and he invites us to do the same.
During his convalescence in Loyola Ignatius was given a life of Jesus to read, a first step that led to his conversion. After that, he remained truly fascinated by the person of Jesus and his way of acting and choosing. He was convinced that if we get to know Jesus better, we will certainly love him more and follow him more closely, and this will bring order to our life.
For most of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to let our gaze rest on Jesus as we find him in the gospels, seeing what he is doing and listening to what he is saying. This enables us to go beyond a mere intellectual or academic knowledge, seeking a personal, intimate knowledge, the kind that exists between friends or spouses: I strive to get to know Jesus intimately so that, out of my love for him, I can come to share his same options and vision of life.
Ignatius wants us to go through the same experience as the apostles and the first disciples: by sharing in Jesus’ life, witnessing to his actions and choices, and listening to his word, they concluded that he was their Saviour and Lord. Ignatius is convinced that if our knowledge of Jesus is personal and intimate, we too will find it natural to take him as our model.
The Jesus of Ignatius is much more than a romantic preacher of universal fraternity. He does not mince his words when sending his followers to bring the Gospel to the whole world – only those willing to take up their cross every day and carry it are worthy to be called his disciples, and they should be prepared to share his same lot: they will be misunderstood and will suffer for their beliefs, as they engage in the struggle for humanity’s soul. Yet, they can enter the battle knowing that under the banner of Jesus, victory is assured.
Today’s prayer, by Pedro Arrupe, asks for the grace to share the way of acting of Jesus in my everyday life
Lord, meditating on our way of proceeding, I have discovered that the ideal of our way of acting is your way of acting.
Give me that sensus Christi that I may feel with your feelings, with the sentiments of your heart, which basically are love for your Father and love for all men and women.
Teach me how to be compassionate to the suffering, to the poor, the blind, the lame, and the lepers.
Teach us your way so that it becomes our way today, so that we may come closer to the great ideal of Saint Ignatius: to be companions of Jesus, collaborators in the work of redemption.
(A prayer written by the Servant of God Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, 28th superior General of the Society of Jesus. Father Arrupe was Basque, lived in Japan at the time of the atomic bomb and died in Rome in 1991 ten yeas after suffering a serious stroke. He is buried in the Church of the Gesu, in Rome.)