Light and Contemplation

sunny field

You might spend time outside on a sunny day, seeing the sunlight illuminating everything, feeling its warmth on your body, and imagining how God is creating and bathing you in love. Again, tell God what’s in your mind and heart.

This kind of contemplation can lead us to want to love God with our whole mind and heart and soul, to become the friend God wants us to be. Ignatius suggests a prayer that may express what you want to say to God.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory,
my understanding,
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You gave it all to me;
to you, Lord, I give it all back.
All is yours,
dispose of it entirely according to your will.
Give me the grace to love you,
for that is enough for me.

(S.E. No. 234)

What a radical prayer! You may not be able to say it with your whole heart and mind right away. If you find it too much, ask God to help you be able to say it and mean it. When you get right down to it, this prayer is only an expression of the truth of things, namely that we are all creatures who have everything by gift from God’s creative hand and heart. It is an expression of the first commandment, affirming that God alone is God and everything else depends on God’s creative desire at every moment.

—Excerpted from Changed Heart, Changed World by William A. Barry, SJ

4 Comments on Light and Contemplation

  1. Remembering when i was young and growing up in the country, taking long walks in the woods and praising God for His creation. These pieces of writings about seeking Him in the sunshine and through nature takes me back to my younger years. Now, i have found a beautiful place of retreat and solace at anearby catholic university and property that is quite immense. I am able to enjoy the sunshine and grounds with my whole being. Thank you for such encouraging passages of reflection

  2. A radical one indeed.
    I’ve been praying this for a long time not really, really knowing what it really means. Until a very old Jesuit who I’ve been visiting for a long time asked me what’s the point of going to the doctor when he’s sick? It goes against that prayer right?, he would ask me. I don’t have an answer. Neither does his doctors.
    The prayer scared me. I must admit I stopped praying it for a while.

  3. One of my favorite songs to pray with is the St. Louis Jesuits’ “Take Lord Receive” from back in the 70’s! Even after all these years, I can hear it clearly in my head….

  4. I too found the ‘Suscipe’ hard to even begin to pray. Then I began to pray to be in God’s hands and that is what Ignatius prayer is about for me. I was greatly helped by Pedro Arrupe’s words when he was dying – about being where he had always wanted to be, in God’s hands

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