Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shredding my nice tidy two-column lists

Bless our God, who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip. Psalm 66:8

I call with my whole heart; answer me, O LORD, that I may keep Your statues. Psalm 119:145

I am bound by the vow I made to you, O God; I will present to You thank-offerings. For You have rescued my soul from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living. Psalm 56:11-12

The LORD has pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who wait for His gracious favor. Psalm 147:12

And you, little child, have come from on high to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79

What I desire: I desire to do Your will O Lord, I desire to always do Your will, and I desire to do all of Your will. And when I do not desire this, give me the grace to do so.

Ignatius’ Principle 23: My only desire and my one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.

…the free choice to give up the self produces, as it were, the free self, the authentic person. But it is a choice that must constantly be remade in every subsequent choice…this perpetual re-choosing of Christ is the great paradox and challenge the Christian faith. –Inchausti, Subversive Orthodoxy

Choices. Decisions. Love. Obedience. Faithfulness. Consequences.

In their original context, the Ignatian Exercises were given to those who had to make an election, most often for those who were deciding whether they would pursue the life in the Jesuit society. The Spiritual Exercises were designed to bring the retreatant to a place of mature discernment so that the best decision was made.

One idea is that there are times of Boundaries or seasons of transition, when one phase of life is coming to an end and another is beginning. Often, what lies ahead is not clearly seen. The Boundary time of life is always a time of discernment and decision-making.

Ignatius wants all of our choices to be made in light of the strong desire to always move farther along the road toward my chief end of loving God and serving His purposes in the world, for the praise of His greater glory.

Our natural human inclination, when it comes to choices is–what is in it for me? What do I get out of this? We make our lists of pros and cons and tally up the columns to see where we can get the best deal. Ignatius wants to counter that with his First Principle and Foundation and help me come to the place of indifference where you choose whatever is most conducive to the purposes and plans of God, and in this way I move toward my chief end. If that chief end means I must decrease so another can increase, then that is the way it is and will be. Ignatius wants me to have the Lord’s Prayer as my heartbeat, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

There are times when we make certain core choices which turn us away from certain pathways and set us on other pathways. Some of these choices are “defining moment” choices. Still, once made, they must be remade, rechosen in subsequent choices. If we neglect to continue making daily “rechoosings” then our earlier defining choice diminishes. There are vital spiritual choices each person makes that must be remembered, celebrated and reaffirmed on a regular basis. In this way, we move into the maturity and fullness of the first choice.

Imagine having a conversation with Christ as He looks into your eyes and says, “What you prefer is not my will for you. Instead, my will for you is that you pursue the direction that you are least interested in.” As you are imagining this conversation, what do you feel as Christ says this to you? What do you say as you look back at Christ? -Rice

Here I am, I have come…I desire to do Your will, O my God; your law is written in my heart.

Prayer: Holy Father, creator and sustaining wisdom of all that is, both in heaven and on earth, take from me those thoughts, actions and objects that are hurtful. Give me instead those things that are profitable for me an all who seek rightly to praise you. I ask this grace in the company of all believers and through the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, who is, with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.