One of our favorite passages, and not just because it's short and sweet, is "Just Because You Are My God" by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The YA Blog Team was refreshing some of its favorite passages over the weekend and was inspired to re-visit the background of them, starting with the passage by Saint Ignatius.
In the book God Makes the Rivers to Flow , there is a section with background notes about each of the inspirational passages which gives context and history about the author or text. (Many passages are also available free online and the notes are at the bottom of the page.) These are the background notes about "Just Because You Are My God":
Ignatius Loyola (1491–1556), founder of the Society of Jesus (known commonly as Jesuits) of the Roman Catholic Church, began life as a courtier and soldier during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, concerned chiefly with his career and the pleasures of a well-placed young man. After being wounded by a cannonball during a battle with the French in 1521, he spent a wrenchingly painful convalescence in his ancestral castle at Loyola. To pass the time he requested his favorite reading, the romances of chivalry, which were the pulp fiction of the times. None being found anywhere in the castle, he was brought narratives of the life of Christ and the lives of the saints, which, over the long months of his recovery, gradually gave new shape to his dreams of glory as he immersed himself in stories of self-effacing heroism and love for God. Completely transformed, he turned his martial spirit and tremendous capacity for suffering to a spiritual quest which continues to influence the world. His renowned Spiritual Exercises, widely followed today, capture the methodology of an inner convalescence in which he struggled to discern the divine will and to live it out no matter the cost.
In Easwaran's type of meditation, our focus is on the words of the passage during meditation itself. However, outside of meditation we can learn about the background which contextualizes the language and gives new perspective on the words. Just from reading the short history of this passage, it suddenly became alive! We could imagine Saint Ignatius enthralled by the stories of the saints and were surprised at how this made our own spiritual reading more meaningful.
As we've been using this well-loved passage in our meditation, we've been amazed at how fresh this passage has become. We'd love to hear your thoughts on this passage! Share your thoughts in the comments below:
- How do you refresh your passages?
- Is there anything in this passage, or it's history, that you find particularly interesting?
Just Because You Are My God – Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Oh, my God, I want to love you not that I might gain eternal heaven nor escape eternal hell but, Lord, to love you just because you are my God.
Grant me to give to you and not to count the cost, to fight for you and not to mind the wounds, to labor and to ask for no reward except the knowledge that I serve my God.