Editor’s note: Jim Manney is the author of A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer and other books about Ignatian spirituality. Below is an excerpt he shares from his newest book, What Matters Most and Why: Living the Spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
You must not think that God requires what man cannot accomplish. There is no need to wear yourself out, but make a competent and sufficient effort, and leave the rest to Him.
As pearls of Ignatian wisdom go, this is perhaps the most practical: “Do what you can.” “Make a competent and sufficient effort.” Have you done what you can in this situation? Have you overlooked something? Are you giving up too quickly? Or are you trying to do more than you can? Have you forgotten that the outcome of this venture is up to God, not you?
These are tough questions, but Ignatius reminds us that we can answer them. We’re not to be swept up in events like a stick caught in a fast-flowing river. We’re not to make these decisions thoughtlessly. We’re to reflect on them, make them consciously and purposefully. We can decide to let God be God. We’re not in control of everything; we control a lot less than we think we do most of the time, but we can control this. We can decide to let God be God and to do what we can.