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Gather the wheat into my barn

by davesandel on July 23rd, 2022

Saturday, July 23, 2022

            (click here to listen to or read today’s scriptures)

Gather the wheat into my barn

Put not your trust in the deceitful words: “This is the temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord! The temple of the Lord!” Only if you

Ignatius wrote, practiced and revised his Spiritual Exercises for twenty or more years in the sixteenth century. He taught his Jesuits to use the Examen twice a day every day for all their life, regularly reviewing their activities with regard to gratefulness in their hearts to God, and the lack thereof. He learned how to imagine himself into the stories of the Bible, and bring himself to life within them.

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young. I had rather one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.

Ignatius was crippled from a military wound, incurred before he became a Christian. After his conversion, this disability prevented him from traveling the world as a missionary, as did others of his order. Instead he explored his spiritual mind, inviting God to visit him in his own inner temple.

Toward the end of his Exercises, he asks us to pray a Suscipe with him. “Suscipe” is Latin for “receive.”

Take and receive, O Lord, my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my whole will. You have given me all that I have and all that I am, and all of this I return to you. Dispose of me now entirely according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, for that is sufficient for me. This is more than enough. This is all I need.

At times when praying this prayer of surrender, I may want to lie flat on my face on the floor as the monks do, either in humility or striving for it. But usually I am sitting upright in my chair, looking outside at the world around me, wondering who I am in God’s kingdom.

In my life governed as much by “free will” as by God’s will, I mostly don’t know what I want or who I am. What is my purpose, my calling, the gift I’ve been given for me to give away? I second-guess myself. My mind shifts like a monkey from branch to branch. I feel quickly lost.

I know what I should do then. But I don’t always quiet down and become still. When I don’t it isn’t long before I lose track of the “peace of God which passes all understanding.” I find a different path, which leads to the “peace that the world gives.”

But that is never satisfying, not now, not ever. I am thankful for Ignatius’ Suscipe, which calls me back into the sanity of God.

Give me only your love and your grace, for that is sufficient for me.

Yesterday, Margaret sat across from me in our office and read to me. She read this poem, this modern Suscipe, quietly and slowly, with her eyes as well as her voice.

 I listen to the silence and I hear it.

I gaze into the darkness and I feel it.

I take in a breath and know it.

I am loved.

I am not alone.

I am your delight.

And that is more than enough. (poem by Clarence Heller)

(Jeremiah 7, Psalm 84, James 1, Matthew 13)

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