Imagine a recruiting office using this slogan: “Deny yourself, take up difficulties and hardship, and obey someone else.” I can’t imagine the line getting in would be very long!
St Ignatius of Loyola echoed these words of Jesus when he wrote in the Spiritual Exercises, “In the spiritual life, progress will be in proportion to surrender of self-love, self-will and self-interest.”
Why? Because in losing ourselves in loving someone else—that’s when all the good stuff happens. What parent, for example, doesn’t experience deep joy in making sacrifices for their child? Or a friend staying up late to console a friend in need?
Our deepest meaning and satisfaction in life occurs not when we are focused on the shallow interests for ourselves but when we forget ourselves in caring for another.
—Fr. Dan Reim, SJ, is campus chaplain at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH.