Each day I try to ask God for something I need. Some days I know just what I need; it requires only a few words. Most times, though, there are lots of things on my mind that I need God to help me with so I start rattling off a list of hopes and needs and desires for myself and for others. But I often struggle to remember all the things I want to ask God for.
I finally decided to make my prayer simpler. After all, God knows exactly what I need each day, so inspired by Ignatius, I make this my prayer: “God, give me your love and grace. That is enough for me.” And that’s all I really need. But this “love and grace” line becomes a bit cliché after a while in Ignatian circles. We hear it all the time. What do we really mean by it?
Love is God and God is love, says 1 John 4:8. Love is pure self-giving. There is nothing held back. The Christian surrenders to the fact that there is no way we can fully return this kind of love from God. It’s immense and life-changing.
And grace is unearned gift from God. Indeed, grace could be imaged as the endless flow of God’s goodness and giving to us. This is love at its fullest. Ignatius’s Suscipe prayer admits that all the passing things that are given to us as gift cannot compare to God’s grace and love. So when I ask for God’s love and grace I’m basically asking for God’s self. God’s self is enough for me. And God is now, sustaining me, beholding me, loving me. That is all I really need.