St. Ignatius of Loyola; Fire of Love
Truth In Love – Bishop Paul D. Etienne – July 31, 2012
As the Universal Church recalls a great saint today, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, it is a good opportunity to reflect upon the desire of our own hearts.
One of the realities the saints can teach us is the necessity of spending time in prayer. This time in prayer is critical if we are to identify the deep desire of our hearts for God.
The other reality of the spiritual life the saints teach is that once we are in touch with this desire in our hearts for God, we must exercise that desire, express it. St. Ignatius, being of Spanish decent, and a Basque at that, was a man of passion. This passion is what I am speaking of when it comes to expressing our desire for God.
The interior life of God, namely the life of love that exists, is expressed, between the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit is the source of each person’s life, and is planted within each of us. This interior life of God is sown within our own hearts by Christ; “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man.” (Matthew 13:37)
I believe this is the ‘fire’ Christ came to sow upon the earth. This is the fire that singed the saints, and burns for each of us. “Thus says the Lord: I have come to cast fire on the earth, how I wish that it were kindled!” (Luke 12:49)
In a world that offers so many ‘delights’ and is fixated on ‘immediate results’ and ‘immediate gratification,’ it requires true self discipline to go beyond the “good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure.” (Collect Prayer, Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Prayer is the opportunity to daily dwell with the Timeless One. Prayer is the setting to express the deep, intimate, passionate yearnings of our heart, and to await the same from the heart of the Father through Jesus Christ. If we are not aware of God’s abundant, providential love for us, we will find it very difficult to fall in love with the Eternal One who awaits us, who awaits our response.
Strangely, but appropriately, I wish to close this entry marking the feast of St. Ignatius with a passage from St. Bonaventure:
But if you wish to know how these things come about, ask grace not instruction, desire not understanding, the groaning of prayer not diligent reading, the Spouse not the teacher, God not man, darkness not clarity, not light but the fire that totally inflames and carries us into God by ecstatic unctions and burning affections. This fire is God, (St. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey to God)