Here at the USA national offices of the Apostleship of Prayer, we have a library.
We are the national headquarters of a 170-year-old worldwide organization, so when I say library, you might picture something like this:
Reality looks a little more like this:
Lots of people (especially well-read Jesuit priests) donate their books to the Apostleship of Prayer, so keeping up with boxes and boxes of donations can be difficult.
A couple of years ago, we moved into lovely new office space replete with built-in shelving. A handful of generous volunteers helped us categorize, alphabetize, and shelve thousands of our books. So NOW, we do in fact have a delightful little library.
I've been browsing our titles lately. Last week I discovered a tiny book in our robust "Ignatian Spirituality" section. It's smaller than my hand, and strange green splotches dot the cover. Printed in 1984 by the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau, Prayerful Thoughts from St. Ignatius of Loyola is an unassuming collection of 100 brief quotations from the founder of the Society of Jesus.
Joseph N. Tylenda, S.J., a history scholar, compiled the quotations, presumably his personal favorites. The national director of the Apostleship of Prayer, Fr. James Kubicki, S.J., explained that the little book was probably distributed as a premium as part of a fund-raising project in the 1980s.
In these weeks leading up to Lent, I thought I'd share several quotations here on Praying with Grace. It was a Jesuit priest who first taught me how to pray (well, after my parents, of course). Praying in the tradition of St. Ignatius changes lives. Please join me!
Using the book's own numbering system, I'll present the quotations without context, just as Fr. Tylenda does in his little book. The wisdom of Ignatius is deep, but very practical--the words are profound, yet easy to understand.
- Give yourself a moment to stop.
- Listen to your breathing.
- Now read one or more quotations, asking the Lord to help you hear just exactly what he desires to tell you today.
3. Man was created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord and in this way to save his soul.
The other things on earth were created for man’s use, to help him reach the end for which he was created. Thus, it follows, that he must use these means, insofar as they help him to reach his goal, and to refrain from using them insofar as they keep him from that goal.
4. For those who love, nothing is too difficult, especially when it is done for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7. The moment you decided to use all your strength in praising, honoring, and serving God our Lord, that was the moment you entered into battle with the world, raised your standards against it, and made yourself ready to reject all that is exalted by embracing all that is lowly. At the same time you resolved to accept with indifference positions high or low, honor or dishonor, riches or poverty, to be loved or hated, to be appreciated or scorned—in short, the world’s glory or the injuries it could inflict upon you.
8. If we desire to live in honor and to be esteemed by our neighbors, then we shall never be solidly rooted in God our Lord, and it will be impossible for us to remain undisturbed when insults come our way.
12. Be generous to the poor orphans and those in need. The man to whom our Lord has been liberal ought not to be stingy. We shall one day find in heaven as much rest and joy as we ourselves have dispensed in this life.
How did that go?