“Okay, Jesus, that sounds really good. A hundred to one return on an investment is excellent. But there is one phrase in the contract that makes me uneasy—with persecutions. If you could just delete that, your offer would be just about perfect.” Peter and his fellow disciples, like many of us, could not resist asking the “What’s in it for me?” question. We are willing to make an effort, to make a commitment, but we want to know that it is going to be effective, that it is going to pay off.
Jesus will work with Peter and with his other disciples and with us to lead his followers to a deeper realization of what it means to serve him. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius has several key meditations that guide a person to see things more and more from Christ’s perspective. At the conclusion of the Kingdom meditation, the person making the Exercises prays to imitate Jesus in bearing all injuries and affronts and in poverty, actual as well as spiritual.
There is a similar prayer at the conclusion of the meditation on the Two Standards. And in the “Take and Receive” prayer at the end of the Exercises, the person gives everything back to God, and says that God’s love and grace is all that is needed.
St. Ignatius is realistic enough to recognize that this is a challenging step. We may not be ready. So we may need to start with the desire to desire such a relationship with Christ. And we may even need to begin by praying for the desire to desire the desire.
Where do I find myself in my journey to join Christ in the persecutions, the tough stuff?
—Fr. Joseph Folzenlogen, S.J.is vice-superior of the Faber Jesuit Community in Cincinnati and Director of Claver Jesuit Ministry.