What Does it Mean to "Serve"?

by Jim Manney

“Service” is a central idea in Ignatian spirituality. But what does it really mean?

Here is an excellent article by David Fleming, SJ, that unpacks the Ignatian concept of service. Service is humble. Ignatius spoke of being helpful–not something that conjures up “great deeds and great accomplishments,” Fleming notes. Love is the foundation of service, and service is expressed in deeds more than in words. But service cannot be restricted to certain actions:

To follow is to serve, to be available is to serve, to believe and to trust is to serve, to accompany is to serve, to forgive and to be compassionate is to serve, and to celebrate the Eucharist is to serve . We also learn that to serve is always to share what we have been given. That is why serving always follows upon loving —because lovers share their gifts.

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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August 6, 2009

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