“Loving God in all things, and all things in him.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)
To become men and women of prayer, let us meditate on this phrase of St. Ignatius of Loyola: “Consider how God works and labors for me in creatures…that is, he conducts himself as one who labors.” Furthermore, we should keep in mind this quote from St. Augustine: “Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you.” Both quotations can enrich our path to be prayerful people.
By recognizing the presence of God within me, and at the same time knowing that “he works and labors for me, ” can help my life become a prayer. I am able to dialogue with him in my daily chores, and see his presence when I am speaking to others. The ability to sense his presence in me allows the Holy Spirit to teach me and work in me.
To maintain this closeness to God, I must practice feeling his presence with me, attentive to the inner movements of the heart, as Saint Ignatius writes. If I do not, although God is with me, I am not with him; I look for him in the “external world,” and try to find him there. Thus it is understood that people say that “they are far from God,” but in reality what happens is that they are not attentive to the God who is within them. Instead, they are in fact far from themselves, and as a result, far from God.
This experience of the interior spiritual life allows us “to be a contemplative in action,” as the phrase of Ignatian spirituality states; to be prayerful in the action of ordinary life. In my heart I am contemplating and processing all the messages that come to me from outside, and from there I am generating attitudes, actions and words, which build, in the encounter with others, fruitful relationships, permanent ties. All of this can help make me more human, more fraternal, and more compassionate.
- Carlos Canillas, SJ
Continental Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network