by Kathleen Haser
“Love consists in sharing what one has and what one is with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words.”
— St. Ignatius of Loyola
Ignatius makes this statement with great certainty as he introduces the final contemplation of the Spiritual Exercises. Whenever I read those words they give me jolt, a good jolt.
The Exercises draw us closer to God, as over and over we pray for the grace to know, love, and serve God. The final Contemplation to Obtain Love is magnificent, filled with images of God active in all things.
But Ignatius — the consummate “contemplative in action” — is always concerned about our response to God. He doesn’t discount feeling love, or using words to speak of love, or having a loving attitude.
When we see God’s love it is an active love. Our response to how God loves is to love as God loves, being ever mindful of what God had done for us and how God is active in all creation.
So, what are you going to do? Love ought to show itself in deeds. Then I recall praying “that filled with gratitude I may, in all things, serve God.” That gratitude is a great motivator for me to act.
What fills you with gratitude?
How will you respond to God’s love?
Kathleen Haser is Director of Former Jesuit Volunteers