From Miletus he sent a message to Ephesus, asking the elders of the church to meet him. When they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the entire time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.
I did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message to you and teaching you publicly and from house to house, as I testified to both Jews and Greeks about repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus. And now, as a captive to the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me.
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again.
Therefore I declare to you this day that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.
In his Principle and Foundation, St. Ignatius exhorts us “make ourselves indifferent to all created things” so that we don’t prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, or a long life to a short life.
We consider a long, healthy life, enough resources to live comfortably, and having others recognize our hard work as good things. Why shouldn’t we prefer these?
For St. Ignatius, the only thing truly good is that which brings praise, reverence, and service to God our Creator.
St. Paul shows us in today’s first reading what this can look like. He recognizes that preaching the kingdom will bring him imprisonment and hardships. And yet he does it anyway, fully convinced that God has sent him on mission.
We, too, are sent on a mission: to model our lives after Jesus, our Risen Lord. As we discern what that looks like for us, may we have the courage to say joyfully with Sts. Paul and Ignatius, “What will happen to me there, I do not know.”
—Dan Dixon, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic from the Midwest Province currently working at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland to create the Welsh Academy, a grades 6-8 middle school for families of modest economic means.
A Prayer of Abandonment
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you;
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures—
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need
to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands
without reserve and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father. Amen.
—Charles de FoucauldPlease share the Good Word with your friends!