Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. 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. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me. AmenPrayer, St Ignatius of Loyola
How open are you to receiving God’s love and grace? Is there a wall, an obstruction, or even darkness covering your heart to allow this love and grace to filter in and occupy a space within you?
This prayer by St Ignatius is a prayer I’ve been trying to start my day with. This prayer reminds me that my day is really not mine. It’s God’s. If I surrender myself to His will, my desires to His, my day will fall into place. What does that really mean? In my meek mind, that involves not only engaging my talents to do God’s will but mainly how I engage in the relationships that God places before me in my day.
After coming off of a silent Ignatian retreat a week ago, that was focused on Jesus’ tender love and being cherished, my heart seemed to become more vulnerable and I’m finding it difficult to hide my feelings under the bushel within my heart. In some sense, I have struggled with this because throughout my life, I have learned that sharing or revealing my feelings was a sign of weakness and could hurt the other person, therefore it was best I keep my feelings to myself.
Reflecting on Psalm 139 and Isaiah 43, I know that I can’t and never could hide these feelings from God, even when I felt I did a good job hiding them from the people I love. All those filters, walls, the things we place around our hearts to shield our feelings, He peels them back. What I find most comforting is that when He does this, He shines light upon those feelings and He says let me have them, it’s ok. Your weakness is not weak for Me and those feelings you have I allowed you to have so that you can accept my love and grace I give you right now in this very moment – “[I] have examined [your] heart and know everything (Psalm 139:1) and “even in darkness, [you] cannot hide from [me] (Psalm 139:12).” “You are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you (Isaiah 43:4).”
This prayer by St. Ignatius I think helps to tear those walls down and realize that tearing them down allows God to work through those feelings. Sometimes those vulnerable feelings either teach us a lesson or help in the relationship that we were shielding them from. It may tear down walls that were built in those relationships allowing more love and grace to pour out.
At the end of the day, our entire life is about relationships. It’s about our relationship with God – how open we are to receiving all He has for us. It’s about our relationships with our friends and families and even those we meet in passing. We are always engaging in relationship. How will we engage in them? Will we be vulnerable and allow God’s love and grace to work through it?
Is God’s love and grace enough for us in our relationships?
If you have time, I invite you to read Psalm 139:1-18 and you may also like to read Isaiah 43:1-7. As you read these consider how God’s see you? Open your heart to receiving the grace and love He pours into you through His gaze.