28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. ~Phil 4:12

The Second Reading from Mass this Sunday recalled for me the following passage from the beginning of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, identified as the Principle and Foundation:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and 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 as to it. 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.

There is no set of circumstances in life that can ultimately frustrate for us the Divine Plan. Often times when we “imagine” how we want our life to be, and the expectation goes unmet, we become sad, angry, discouraged. The lesson from St. Ignatius is the same as that from St. Paul: whether we have wealth or poverty, health or sickness, the only thing we should want is that God be the principle and foundation to all my thoughts, words, and actions. All else is ancillary.

Fr. Richard Hinkley