Monday, July 31, 2006

Soldier of the Church

Today we remember with thanksgiving Ignatius Loyola, whose Spiritual Exercises have been such a gift to the Church.
As I grew up, my parents and their friends tended towards suspicion of the Society of Jesus which he founded, using “jesuitical” as a synonym for a devious casuistry that could, apparently, render black white just like that! Then, as a singer in London I once found myself called upon to deputise for the choir at the great Jesuit church at Farm Street…and was gripped by the preaching in a way that was all too rare elsewhere. I began to adjust my ideas.
Taster retreats using Ignatian spirituality have been a huge blessing along the way, and I firmly intend to experience at least an 8 day retreat here before I’m too much older.
Meanwhile, here’s the prayer for which Ignatius is famous…Not sure I can whole-heartedly agree with the petition to toil and not to seek for rest, which surely keys straight into the guilt provoked by the Protestant work-ethic, but to dream, just for a moment, of serving God as he deserves……what a prayer!

Teach us, good Lord, to serve thee as thou deservest;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek for rest;
to labour and not to ask for any reward,
save that of knowing that we do thy will,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen


John said...

I wouldn't worry about that "toil". Yes, read from within a work-ethic worldview, it reinforces that aspect. However, I think that it ties more closely into the call to "to give and not to count the cost" - that our passion for Christ should mean that we work to bring in the Kingdom without ceasing. That is, the toil springs from a desire, not from a duty.

Never been that into Loyola myself, though. Although I've never delved deeply, either...

pax et bonum

Paul said...

An 8-day retreat at St. Beuno's is to be commended (or at Noddfa, or Loyola Hall). I'm beginning to make plans for a 30-day retreat in 2008 (when my curate has been priested!)