Prayerful Thoughts: Passages 76 - 100
~ 76 ~
In those who are making progress in the spiritual life, from good to better, the good angel touches the soul gently, tenderly, and sweetly, as a drop of water entering a sponge, but the evil spirit touches it sharply, with noise and agitation, like a drop of water hitting upon a rock [Spir. Exer., "Rules for the Discernment of Spirits"].
~ 77 ~
Consider yourself hardly worth anything if a courtier can show greater zeal in serving an earthly prince than you manifest in serving the King of Heaven; or if a soldier battles with greater courage for the glory of victory and hope of spoils, than you fight for a victory and triumph over the world, the devil, and yourself, and this for a heavenly kingdom and eternal glory! [Ep. 1:499].
~ 78 ~
Many persons whose lives can hardly be called Christian, have not the faintest idea that they could become great saints if they allowed themselves to be formed by God's grace and not resist His actions [Bart. 2:255].
~ 79 ~
If we fear the world more than we should, we will never accomplish anything great for God, for all that we do for God invites persecution from the world [Bart. 2:254].
~ 80 ~
If we find that we are without the patience to endure insults from others we, then, have greater reason to complain, not because of those who injure us, but because of our own sensuality and carnal inclinations, and because we are not as mortified or dead to the world as we should be. These people are offering us opportunities for gaining a treasure greater than anyone can win in this life, and riches more numerous than anyone can accumulate in this world [Ep. 1:86-87].
~ 81 ~
We must always presume that whatever the Lord of the whole world does in the souls of rational beings is either to give us greater glory, or to lessen the evil in us [Ep. 1:98-99].
~ 82 ~
It is always very good for us not only to live in love of God, but it is even more salutary for us to live in fear of God, for divine judgments are totally unfathomable to us, and we ought not seek reasons for what God wills [Ep. 1:99].
~ 83 ~
With regard to any project, we must put ourselves in God's hands as if our success depended on Him, but with regard to choosing the means and doing the work, we must labor as if everything depended on us [Bart. 2:254].
~ 84 ~
Do not be indiscriminately open to everyone, nor too familiar with them, but consult the Holy Spirit to see in whom He is moving you to put your confidence [Ep. 12:860].
~ 85 ~
As a rule, the method the enemy follows with those who love God our Lord and are beginning to serve Him, is to place barriers and hindrances in their way. He suggests: "How can you spend your entire life in such great penance and without the joy of parents, friends, or possessions? How can you endure so solitary a life without any break, when you can save your soul in other ways and without such great dangers? . . ." The enemy refrains, however, from telling us of the great comfort and consolation that our Lord grants the souls of those who overcome these barriers by choosing to suffer for their Creator and Lord [Ep. 1:101].
~ 86 ~
If the devil praises us, we must humble ourselves reflecting on our sins and wretchedness. If he abases us and keeps us down, we must then lift ourselves up in true faith and hope in our Lord, recalling to mind the benefits we have received from Him and with how much love and affection He is waiting to save us. The enemy is totally unconcerned whether he speaks the truth or tells lies; his only desire is to overcome us [Ep. 1:102].
~ 87 ~
When you find yourself being tempted by the enemy of human nature. . .you must fearlessly state and declare that you are a follower of the Lord and that you would rather die than leave His service [Ep. 1:103].
~ 88 ~
May it please the Most Holy Trinity to grant you abundant grace in all your trials in this life and in all that you do in serving God. I ask as much for you as I desire for myself, and may God give me no more than I desire for you [Ep. 1:88].
~ 89 ~
When we exercise true humility, the enemy tries to lead us into a false humility, one that is exaggerated and perverted [Ep. 1:102].
~ 90 ~
Be generous with your time, that is, do today, if you can, what you have promised to do tomorrow [Ep. 1:180].
~ 91 ~
Just as I am not going to be saved through the good works of the good angels, so I am not going to be damned because of the evil thoughts and temptations that the bad angels, the world, and the flesh suggest to me. God asks only one thing of me, namely that my soul resign itself to His divine Majesty, and when the soul is so resigned, it makes the body—whether it wishes or not—to submit to the Divine Will [Ep. 1:109].
~ 92 ~
When your body enjoys good health you can do a lot, but when it is infirm I know not how much you can accomplish. A healthy body has a great part to play in doing much good or much evil; much evil if your will is depraved and your habits are sinful, but much good if your will is totally surrendered to God our Lord and trained in virtue [Ep. 1:108].
~ 93 ~
If anyone forgets himself and his private interests in order to serve God, he can be assured that heaven will provide for him better than he could have done for himself [Bart. 2:254].
~ 94 ~
Among all evils and sins imaginable, ingratitude is the most abominable in the sight of our Creator and Lord as well as in the sight of all His creatures who are capable of enjoying His divine and everlasting glory. Ingratitude is the total disregard for the benefits, graces, and gifts received, and is the cause, beginning, and origin of all sins and misfortunes. On the other hand, the grateful acknowledgment of blessings and gifts received is appreciated and esteemed in heaven just as it is on earth [Ep 1:192].
~ 95 ~
When it is time for me to die, I do not want, because of my vow of poverty, any money jingling in my pockets; and when I give my body, perhaps I should say this earth, to the earth, I do not want to be found with a single penny, either of my own or anyone else's [Ep. 1:292].
~ 96 ~
You do not know whether you will be called to face the particular judgment this coming September, or this month, or this very night. Many people enjoying better health than you. . .have gone to bed free of all worries, but were not alive when morning came! [Ep. 9:310].
~ 97 ~
Do not let the short period of time that you have left pass you by without fruit. In our final moments, you may find, when you would give all that you have and all that the world is worth to have an hour in which to be sorry for your sins and to do some good, that that hour may not be given you if now, in the time allotted you through God's wisdom, you refuse to take advantage of it and help yourself [Ep. 9:310].
~ 98 ~
In the life which is eternal and without end God will reward your patience with indescribable joy and glory; there will be no trials, sadness, or discomfort—for there are none of these in heaven—but only the fulfillment of every joy and happiness [Ep. 6:161].
~ 99 ~
Take and receive, O Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and all my will; all that I have and all that I possess. All this you have given me, Lord, and I return them to You. Everything is Yours; dispense them according to Your good pleasure. Grant me Your love; give me Your grace, and this is enough for me [Spir. Exer., "Contemplation for Obtaining Love"].
~ 100 ~
For ever blessed and praised be our Creator and Redeemer, from whose infinite liberality we have received all grace and every good thing [Ep. 1:496].
Abbreviations Used in Citations:
AS Ribadeneira, P. de, Vita altera S. Ignatii in Acta Sanctorum, July, vol. 7.
Bart. Bartoli, D., Histoire de Saint Ignace et de l'origine de la Compagnie de Jésus, 3rd ed., 2 v. (Brussels, 1852). Translation of the original Italian of 1650.
Cons. Constitutions of the Society of Jesus.
Ep. Monumenta Ignatiana: Epistolae et Instructiones, 12 v. (Madrid, 1903-1911).
Gen. Exam. General Examen.
Spir. Exer. Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.