Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Meditation for October 24, The Use of Creatures

First of all, creatures should not be a hindrance to me in serving God. I ought rather to use them as a means to go to God.

These are the two great ideas that St. Ignatius emphasized and developed in the beginning and at the end of the Exercises - in the consideration of Indifference, and in the Contemplation on Divine Love.

In the meditation on Indifference he claims that the sight of the goal must be so imperious that we are ready to sacrifice all which does not help to attain it. This creature has value as a means. Fine, we will use it. Such a person or such an object is not a means under the circumstances, has absolutely no value as a means; nothing is simpler, we must put it aside.

But isn't this a negative procedure? There is something greater and better to do. God has made us kings in creation, not only that we may not be the slaves of creatures, but that creatures serve us as pedestals to elevate us to Him. In the first part of the Contemplation on Love, or rather, the ways to acquire love, Ad Amorem, St. Ignatius endeavors to incite in the retreatant the desire of forming this habit of finding God among created things; creatures far from hiding God from us ought to reveal Him to us, if our faith is lively enough.

Ignatius himself, upon closing his window one evening, noticed the starry sky; in this beautiful pic­ture of the heavens powdered with stars he discovered the Lord and, falling into an ecstasy, he remained there until morning.

We scarcely expect to react as did St. Ignatius, but at least let the earth help us picture heaven; the created, the Uncreated; the pedestal, the statue; the beauty of things, the Infinite Beauty of God. Use in this spirit the praises and canticles of the Psalms.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)

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