Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Discernment of God's Will according to St. Ignatius

Step 2 of St. Ignatius method of discernment is detachment, that is total openness to what God wants.  If I am going to be totally open,  then I need to set aside that toward which I am personally inclined. St. Ignatius is suggesting that I be totally indifferent, totally detached from the outcome of my prayer. That means that I want only God’s answer, not my own, and that I will not give God suggestions.  I will not pray: “God, please, please give me…….”  Or that I would say: “Lord, I want to be married to a person who has lots of money.” Or, “Lord, I want to be married to a person who is physically beautiful, has blond hair, is a graduate of…..”  Or, “Lord, I want to enter a religious community that lets me serve on the West coast or the East coast or the Midwest.”  Or, “God, I want to enter a religious community in which the members wear a habit, do not wear a habit, etc., etc.”  No! If I am detached from the answer, then my prayer sounds something like: “Lord, only your will be done. Reveal to me what your will is for me and give me the grace to be totally open to what you want of me and for me.” I want God’s answer and His alone. I truly want to know, of the choices that I am considering, given the circumstances I am in, what do you want of me, Lord. When it comes to a State in Life, I truly want to know whether God is calling me to be married, to remain single or to enter religious life.  St. Ignatius calls us to  desire neither one choice over another or one vocation over another but that we desire only that which God desires of us. In other words, if totally open, my  prayer might go something like this: “Lord, show me what you want of me? Reveal your will to me.”   In the words of Jesus spoken in the Garden: "Not my will but yours be done, O Lord." Or the words of Mary at the Annunciation: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your will."

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