A number of years ago a friend of mine shared with me the Suscipe prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola. For those of you unfamiliar with the prayer, it goes as follows:
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace.
That is enough for me.
Although I did not admit it to my friend, the prayer terrified me. I couldn’t imagine letting go of everything that I have and entrusting my life entirely to God. Despite my fears and anxieties, the prayer left an impression upon me and has remained with me ever since.I still wrestle with entrusting myself to the will of God. David Wells, author of The Reluctant Disciple, articulates well the root of the fear that so many of us have when it comes to completely giving ourselves to God.
There is a serious me that wants God on my terms. Pride will push away the love of God and I can fill the space with all sorts of concerted effort, duty and devotions as if I should earn it before I receive it. My devotion is a response to God’s generosity, not a precondition for it. Finally after all my efforts have failed I come to him empty handed, a fool, not in control of events and in that space he whispers, “Do not be afraid.”
Regardless of my fear of God’s will and the demands that it may place upon me, there is something so incredibly attractive about submitting myself to the mercy and care of God. Perhaps it is because I grow weak when I try to control life. Or maybe I know deep down inside that true freedom can only be found in God.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene. Although myths abound about her life, it is clear from the scriptures that Mary experienced true freedom and redemption in Jesus. We don’t know what her demons were, as we don’t know the demons that each of us struggles with, but we do know that she gave herself completely to Jesus. And for that, she became the exalted disciple, the one to whom Jesus reveals himself first after the Resurrection.
-Don Beyers, Relationship Manager & Acquisitions Editor
To read more on David Wells journey of faith, check out The Reluctant Disciple. David Wells, a teacher and a father of three kids from the UK, shares with us his own path to discipleship. He is a fantastic storyteller: wry, funny, self-deprecating and down to earth. The Reluctant Disciple is ideal for study groups and people on retreat but it’s just as easy to pick up the book off the shelf and enjoy it straight through.