Central to living a rich spiritual life with God is developing an intimate personal relationship with him. This requires that we accept that we have been created in God’s love, that we are totally dependent on that love for our very existence, that he has a plan and specific purpose for our lives. We have also been created as we are, in this particular time and where we are to play a unique role as co-labors building His kingdom.
It’s important to reflect on the nature of our relationship with Jesus. Each of us is on our own spiritual journey, and out of our life experience we’ve formed an image of Jesus that reflects our sense of his qualities, personality, temperament, and his love for people. Our image of him to some extent defines how we feel about him, how we believe he feels about us, our expectation of how he may (or not) respond to our needs, fears and hopes. For some Jesus is a healer, councilor, teacher, for others he is a judge, others see him as comforter. All of these are incomplete images and can’t capture the vastness of God but they do provide us a clue to what and who we seeking.
What based on his personal experience Ignatious emphasized that Jesus wants to be our friend. This is a radical perspective that paints Jesus as intimately wanting to be part of all aspects of our lives wanting us to experience his love, and fulfill our human potential as one of God’s creatures.
In the opening sections of the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius begins stating the in the First Principle and Foundation, which addresses how we are to live, he begins by explaining that the goal of our life is to live with God forever. To do so requires our complete trust that God wants us to fulfill our potential by structuring our actions, values and priorities to be aligned with His. In doing so we can more easily receive his love and by using our gifts they become a channel of his love into the world as well as a means to flow our response to His love back to Him in gratitude and service. They are also channels of how we flow His love into the people, activities and forms of service that shape our lives.
The concept of a personal relationship with the Lord is an ancient one. In Deutoronmy 6:5, we are told to “love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, and with your whole being, and with your whole strength.” Jesus repeats this command often throughout the New Testament, as can be found in Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30,33 and Luke 10:27. The prologue of the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us: “At every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength”
To illustrate some of qualities of Surrendering to God we’ve chosen to use Mary of Nazareth as example and as a means to illustrate how Ignatian imaginative prayer can be used to experience how God loved her and drew her into his plan.
Moment #2 Surrendering to God’s Will. I’ve selected Mary of Nazareth as a model.
Gospel of Saint Luke
Grace for Which to Pray:
Pray to fully trust that God knows us completely and infinitely loves us just as we are; and to believe that He will use every choice we make for our ultimate good and the most loving outcome. Pray also that we may have confidence in His love for us such that we can enter and abide in relationship with Jesus as our Lord and true friend
Mary transforms heaven and earth with her “fiat”, expressing her tremendous trust and surrender in God with her words “I am the servant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say” (Lk 1:38).
And with those words, she expresses what was the fundamental attitude of her life: her faith! Mary believed! She trusted in God’s promises and was faithful to his will. When the angel Gabriel announced that she was chosen to be the Mother of the Most High, she gave her “Fiat” humbly and with full freedom: ” Let it be done to me as you say”. Perhaps the best description of Mary and, at the same time the greatest tribute to her, was the greeting of her cousin Elizabeth: “Blessed is she who trusted that God’s words to her would be fulfilled” (Lk 1 :45). For it was that continual trust in the providence of God which most characterized her faith.
All her earthly life was a “pilgrimage of faith” (cf. Lumen Gеntium, 58). For like us she walked in shadows and hoped for things unseen. She knew the contradictions of our earthly life. She was promised that her son would be given David’s throne, but at his birth, there was no room even at the inn. Mary still believed. The angel said her child would be called the Son of God; but she would see him slandered, betrayed and condemned, and left to die as a thief on the Cross. Even yet, Mary “trusted that God’s words to her would be fulfilled” (Lk 1 :45), and that “nothing was impossible with God” (Lk 1 :37).
This woman of faith, Mary of Nazareth, the Mother of God, has been given to us as a model in our pilgrimage of faith. From Mary we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things. From Mary, we learn to trust even when all hope seems gone. From Mary, we learn to love Christ, her Son and the Son of God. For Mary is not only the Mother of God, she is Mother of the Church as well. In every stage of the march through history, the Church has benefited from the prayer and protection of the Virgin Mary. Holy Scripture and the experience of the faithful see the Mother of God as the one who in a very special way is united with the Church at the most difficult moments in her history, when attacks on the Church become most threatening. Precisely in periods when Christ, and therefore his Church, provokes premeditated contradiction, Mary appears particularly close to the Church, because for her the Church is always her beloved Christ.
Continue to look to Mary as the model of the Church, as the best example of the discipleship of Christ. Learn from her to be always faithful, to trust that God’s word to you will be fulfilled, and that nothing is impossible with God. Turn to Mary frequently in your prayer “for never was it known that anyone who fled to her protection, implored her help or sought her intercession was left unaided”.
As a great sign that has appeared in the heavens, Mary guides and sustains us on our pilgrim way, urging us on to “the victory that overcomes the world, our faith” (1 Jn 5 :5). Quoted from the HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II