This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.
Some of St. Ignatius’s most noted words can be found in one of the last meditations in the Exercises: “Love shows itself in deeds more than words.” (SE 230) As I reflect on these words, it reminds me that Jesus desires concrete acts in response to the abundant love and gifts God offers us.
So how do we express our love for God in deeds? It starts with remembering that to each of us:
- God gives gifts.
- God gives desires within our heart to use our gifts.
- God gives tools to discern how to use our gifts.
- God gives the means and opportunities to act on our gifts.
In my search to try to express my gratitude for God’s love and presence in my life, I seek to know my gifts, to understand the desires of my heart, and to use the beautiful tools of Ignatian discernment to know how, when, and where to use my gifts.
Marriage, motherhood, and ministry are the three profound God-given vocations in my life. As I discern my call in each of these areas, I ask:
- How is Jesus inviting me to express my love for God and for my husband in marriage?
- How is Jesus inviting me to express my love for God and my children through motherhood?
- How is Jesus inviting me to express my love for God and for the people I’m called to serve in ministry?
In each of these areas of my life, God raises desires within me to use my gifts, and God gives me the means and opportunities to act on these desires. In marriage, it might be offering a listening ear to my husband at the end of a tough day at work or simply picking up, without comment, his shoes that were left in our family room. In motherhood, it might be the act of cooking a meal and feeding my children, folding laundry, or attending a practice with the kids. In ministry, it might be the act of listening during spiritual direction or having the courage to write on a topic that makes me afraid at people’s response or standing up in front of an audience to lead a retreat.
What about you? How is God inviting you to express your love for God in your life?