Sunday night, our journey through the Spiritual Exercises continued as we explored the Ignatian concept of indifference. We entered into a holy space, asking God to reveal where we might be clinging more tightly to a gift rather than the Giver of the gift.
Ignatius taught that we should be “indifferent to all created things… so that we ultimately desire and choose only what is most conducive for us to the end for which God created us.” This means desiring God and God’s will so deeply, so passionately, that everything else pales in comparison.
Our ability to surrender attachments is deeply rooted in love. Without an understanding of God’s incredible and personal love, we cannot truly surrender. We can only be “indifferent to all created things” when we know God loves us and all things are a gift from God.
Ignatian indifference is found throughout scripture. We see it in the life of Jesus, his followers, and Paul. And while they may use different language, every Christian tradition places indifference, or surrender, at the center of our journey. I firmly believe surrendering to God’s will and falling more deeply into the immense, personal love of God is the essential element of our entire journey of faith.
Our practice for the evening was a reflection on God’s love for us, and an exercise in letting go of an attachment. We held an image of God’s personal love in one hand and a rock in the other. We identified something we struggle to surrender, and we clung to the rock as tightly as we cling to that thing. We wrestled with our attachment. Then, to represent our desire to surrender all things to our loving Creator, we placed the rock at the foot of the cross.
We know that the wrestling and surrender we did Sunday night was just one more step on the journey. Undoubtedly, we will find ourselves picking up our rocks this week and holding onto the gift more tightly than the Giver. Because indifference is grounded in love, will you continue praying the “be-loved” breath prayer at least fifteen minutes each day with me? We will continue this practice through our time in the first movement of the Spiritual Exercises.
For the next two weeks, let’s also be mindful of our attachments. If you were with us last night, we brought home a rock to place in a visible location as a reminder to surrender to God’s loving will. (If you were not with us and you can get to Willow, I would love to give you a rock.) When you find yourself holding something too tightly, will you pause and reflect? And if you are willing to let go, will you pray this prayer to mark you desire to surrender?
Suscipe of St. Ignatius
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty,
my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess You have given me:
I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace;
with these I will be rich enough,
and will desire nothing more.