Friday, August 7: Serving like Ignatius
This past week, we've celebrated many aspects of the life and legacy of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who dedicated himself to the service of others. What does St. Ignatius mean to you? What does he inspire in you, and how will you respond? Alyssa Perez '15, Interim Assistant Director of Alternative Breaks in the Center for Service and Action, reflects on how Ignatius has changed her life.
Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve;
to give, and not to count the cost,
to fight, and not to heed the wounds,
to toil, and not to seek for rest,
to labor, and not to ask for reward,
except that of knowing that we are doing your will.
St. Ignatius is the man who quite literally changed my life. Growing up, I was always upset that I couldn’t go to the Jesuit High School because it was only for boys (a conversation for a later time), so my brother attended there and I couldn’t. I vowed to go to a Jesuit University because I wanted a chance to do all of the social justice work and retreats that my brother had done through high school. It wasn’t until being at LMU that I realized just who St. Ignatius was, and the deep meaning that he would come to have in my life. I started drinking the juice my first few weeks at LMU, during the President’s Day of Service, and has been hard to put down ever since. In all seriousness, Jesuit education has ruined me for life. After graduating LMU, I served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, completed graduate school at another Jesuit Institution, and ended up working back here at LMU. Once you have been Jesuit educated, it is hard to do anything else. I can’t imagine working in a place where I didn’t casually bring up the words Magis or Cura Personalis, and have everyone in the room know what I was talking about.
Once you know Iggy, you are changed forever. I can’t simply go out to dinner anymore . . . I am very intentional about which businesses I am giving my money to, and also conscious of the folks I may have driven by or walked by on the way there who may not have the means to eat anything that night. I can’t just work anywhere because I would be making a lot of money . . . I have to be engaged in work that is focused on empowering others in my community. I can’t just leisure travel anymore . . . I always seek out the local experiences and take the time to learn the history of the place that I am in. I want to hear the stories of the place, not just see the tourist attractions. I can’t just do “service” anymore . . . It’s more about the experience of accompanying someone I do not know, and spending time with them just as I would with a friend. Service isn’t about doing something for someone, it’s about simply being with someone, and remembering that we belong to each other. The Jesuits taught me that.
St. Ignatius calls me to give and to not count the costs . . . to fight and to not heed the wounds . . . to toil and to not seek for rest . . . to labor and to not ask for reward, except that of knowing that I am doing God’s will. This prayer, one of St. Ignatius’s most famous prayers, gives me immense strength and also challenges me every day to be a more generous and more loving person. My vocation comes from this prayer, to continue to give to others and to not ask for anything in return. I have received so much more than I have ever given and work every day to live more like St. Iggy.
So this week, let’s reflect on how we are giving to those around us. How are we being called to serve others today? How are we taking care of those most vulnerable? How can we commit more fully to a faith that does justice? What is something we can do right now? May we find the grace and strength to do that one thing today.
St. Ignatius, pray for us.
Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my whole will, all that I have and all that I possess. You gave it all to me, Lord; I give it all back to you. Do with it as you will, according to your good pleasure. Give me your love and your grace; for with this I have all that I need.
Ignatian Justice and Service
Today our prime educational objective must be to form men and women for others … men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce.
The mission of the Society of Jesus is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement.
The Society of Jesus is well-known for its emphasis on the promotion of justice across its ministries, including education. This emphasis has been strongly and clearly articulated by Superior Generals and General Congregations of the Society of Jesus in the decades since the Second Vatican Council and in response to the most urgent and serious challenges that face the world today. In addition to the emphasis on service, solidarity, and justice in Jesuit schools, colleges, and universities, Jesuit-affiliated organizations like the Ignatian Solidarity Network, the Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps work and advocate for justice all over the globe.
The third pillar of Loyola Marymount University's mission statement is "the service of faith and promotion of justice." What does a faith that does justice look like for you? In what ways can your faith promote justice?
Resources to Explore
- LMU Center for Service and Action: Offering students and graduates a range of opportunities to serve those who are disadvantaged or oppressed
- Justice and Ecology: Networks and advocacy opportunities from the Jesuits of US and Canada
- Social Ministries of Jesuits West: Organizations and service opportunities in our local province of the Society of Jesus
- Ignatian Solidarity Network: Lay-led organization working in partnership with more than 150 Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other partners, to take action on timely issues related to migration, care for creation, racial justice, and criminal justice
- Jesuit Refugee Service: Accompanying, serving, and advocating for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons around the world
- Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Lay-led organization of volunteers who dedicate one or more years to community service across the USA
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