Stay or Go?

Pedro Ribadeneira reports a conversation between Ignatius and his close associate Diego Lainez.“Master Lainez, if God were to say to you: If you want to die at once, I will give you eternal glory, but if you choose to live, I do not guarantee you the gift of final perseverance. If you thought that by remaining on earth, you would be able to achieve some great thing, what would your choice be?”

“To die at once,” said Lainez, “so that I would be sure.”

Ignatius replied,  “For my part, I would not. If I thought that by continuing to live I could accomplish some great work for God, I would beg Him to leave me on earth till I had done it. I would turn my eyes toward God and not toward myself. I would take no account of my danger or my security.”

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


  1. I guess I would stay too – if we are going to be with God for eternity, what’s another couple of years here on earth – just serving Him and waiting.
    But how long is my “exile”?
    How sweet it will be to see Him face to face and to fall into the arms of Jesus when I finally get “home”.

  2. Nice answer, Kim. And I agree. A really tough question. That was St. Paul’s dilemna. Whether to die and be with Christ or to stay and continue to do his work.

  3. If God granted me such a choice, I don’t know how I’d answer, because I agree with both Lainez AND Ignatius! Maybe I’ll just slog along now and ask that the Lord give me a joyful hope…


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