“May Christ our Lord give us his grace so that we may be always sensitive to his will and fulfill it entirely.”
This quotation is the closing salutation St. Ignatius used commonly in his letters and represents the state of openness that is the goal of the Exercises.
The Forces of Good and Evil
The Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises prepares us to make the “Election” or the choice to serve Christ the way he has served us in complete humility by the way of the cross. St. Ignatius takes us through the life of Christ from the Incarnation to the Baptism at the River Jordan.
Before we can get to this election we have to deal with the parts of ourselves that still hold on to sinful ways, attitudes, and tendencies. For St. Ignatius, there are two competing kingdoms symbolized by their own flags or standards. By accepting the banner of Christ and His Kingdom, we reject sin and evil within ourselves and move from a position of self-interest to one of complete surrender to the Divine Will.
The Banner of Christ
“The issue at stake at this stage of the Exercises is not the fact of salvation or of Christ’s victory over Lucifer. That has never been in doubt and the whole theology of the First Week presupposes it. The question is how this victory is to be made a reality for mankind here and now, through my choice. There is no doubt in Ignatius’ mind that the banner of Christ is the Vexilla Regis, the banner of the cross, and the Election is going to be a setting out on the way of the cross.” William Yeomans, “The Two Standards”
What comes to my mind and heart when I say this prayer? What part do I play in God’s plan of salvation here and now: day in and day out?
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not seek for rest;
to labor and not ask for reward, except to know
that I am doing your will.
St. Ignatius, you signed your letters “pobre de bondad,” poor in goodness, and called yourself a pilgrim. Please pray for me to be open to what God is calling me to do to announce and build up the kingdom. Transform my petitions into questions of discernment and pray for us to remember that all of our true needs and desires are already known to God. Pray that I be taken beyond my wants, beyond my fears, from death into life.
In your writings and by your example we are reminded to pray for the Church and the Holy Father, for all who dwell in darkness and for the millions lacking food, water, and other necessities. We join our prayer with yours for true openness so that we can contemplate the Divine presence in all things and praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord in action.Pray for us to have the courage to meet and to serve the Lord Jesus in the poor and the suffering.
Praise be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
Now and Forever. Amen.