Shortly after St. Ignatius’ conversion, his sinful past (as a womanizer, gambler, drinker, and brawler) left him in such despair that he considered killing himself. He had a profound sense of his own unworthiness and wondered “how it is that the earth did not open to swallow me up?” Yet the more he prayed about his sins, the more he marvelled at God’s unconditional love for him, and as time passed, Ignatius gradually gave God permission to heal him, renew him, and make him whole again. Knowing all too well his previous sinful state, and experiencing so profoundly the forgiveness of God for all these sins, Ignatius became the embodiment of gratitude.
Take, Lord, and receive
all I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours;
do with it what you will.
This is how Ignatius responded. This is the experience of all lovers. The beloved is so grateful for the self-gift of the lover that she gathers all that she’s been given and offers it back to the lover.
(Excerpted and paraphrased from “God’s Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God’s Will” by Mark E. Thibodeaux)
Remember the widow in the Gospel who gave “all she had to live on” to the temple treasury (Mk 12:41-44; Lk 21:1-4)? Her heart must have been so filled with gratitude to God that giving everything she had back to him was the only way to express her love.
How about me? Do I pick and choose which aspects of my life to make over to God, or do I, like St. Ignatius and the widow, find myself wanting to give all that God has given me (which is everything!) back to him? Do I put my intellect, imagination, will, affect, all my gifts and talents, at God’s disposal? Do I honour him only when I’m ‘serving God in ministry’ or do I honour him with my life every moment of every day?