Young Solomon prayed, “Lord, you have made me the king, but I do not know how to act… Give your servant, therefore, an understanding heart, so that I can judge right from wrong.”
St. Paul declared: “All things work for the good of those who love God.” Romans 8:28.
The treasure buried in the field, the pearl of great price: Wisdom. Sharing the divine mind. Understanding life. Knowing what to do and what not to do. Standing firm in the truth. The peace that passes all understanding. Union with God.
The wise person prays. The wise person begs God for help all the time. As Socrates had it, to be wise is to know that I don’t know anything. Compared to God, I don’t know much. I don’t understand much at all, compared to God. So let me pray like a madman.
By the same token: The praying person demonstrates great wisdom already, because to believe in God is the wisest act of the human mind. No thought, no knowledge, no Sherlock-Holmesian deduction can touch a more solid, a more sublime truth than the Truth we touch by simple faith.
And this all-encompassing Truth which we touch by faith: He became man to show us how good, and how kind, and how loving He is.
Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. The other things on the face of the earth are created for man, that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him. For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.
St. Ignatius wrote that paragraph as the “First Principle and Foundation” for the spiritual life. Then he taught his followers how to initiate a spiritual life, with the first principle and foundation in mind. Meditate as follows:
Imagining Christ our Lord present and placed on the Cross, let me speak with him freely, focusing on how from Creator He is come to making Himself man, and from life eternal is come to temporal death, and so to die for my sins. Likewise, looking at myself: What have I done for Christ? What I am doing for Christ? What ought I to do for Christ? And so, seeing Him such, and so nailed on the Cross, to go over that which will present itself to my mind.
My colloquy with Christ is made, properly speaking, as one friend speaks to another, or as a servant to his master; now asking some grace, now blaming oneself for some misdeed, now communicating one’s affairs, and asking advice. Then let me say an Our Father.
With these meditations, St. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus. This Society has conquered enormous lands. No other organization has conquered the world like the Jesuits have. Google has nothing on the Jesuits. Facebook has nothing on the followers of St. Ignatius. Google and Facebook will both vanish from the earth, and the churches erected by Jesuits in the far corners of the globe will still stand.
The followers of St. Ignatius carry one weapon only: Personal devotion to Jesus Christ, the Savior and High Priest of the world. The followers of St. Ignatius win battles by: a) thinking clearly, b) communicating skillfully, c) educating others with patience and love, d) wanting nothing but the advancement of the kingdom of Christ, e) acting only in union with the Pope, and f) being willing to suffer and die for Christ.
May the good Lord bless our Jesuit Pope and all the Jesuits. May He bless all the followers of St. Ignatius. May He bless everyone who consecrates him- or herself to the cause of the New Evangelization.
When we stand on the spiritual foundation of living to praise God and to serve the Crucified, then the angels, the saints, the heavenly powers, the history of the Church, the patrimony of the western world, the storehouse of Catholic thought, and every good and beautiful thing, all line up on our side.
Ignatius prayed that he would be poor, that he would be mocked and derided, that he would be reviled and despised—all so that He could be united with Christ, poor, mocked, derided, reviled, and despised. Ignatius gave all his efforts to God and His Church. If his Society was suppressed, he said, he would spend ten minutes in the chapel, and then he would be fine.
Ignatian “indifference” is only indifference to everything that doesn’t really matter. Ignatius was indifferent to everything passing, because he was utterly consumed with zealous interest in God and the salvation of souls.