Listen to this!
Today’s Lectio Divina:
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then He told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2nd Corinthians 12: 7-10 (MsgB)
Ignatian Truth #10: Ignatian spirituality is all about Holy Indifference. Freedom from disordered attachments empowers us to say yes to God, living more fully into the person God has created us to be. The glory of God is a person fully alive (St Irenaeus). Resistance to indifference is not to be ignored but can serve as a doorway to the Divine and to self-discovery.
In all honesty, not a gift most of us would want to pursue.
As a matter of fact, there would be many well-meaning Christians today who would state that no victorious Christ-follower would ever become comfortable with personal handicaps or limitations.
Yet, if we listen carefully to Paul, in his writings to the Corinthians, he is convinced that God can not only work around his handicaps and limitations, but actually allowed them to come his way so that in his weakness he would rely all the more on Christ’s strength!
Kinda hits at the Americanized idea that Christianity is all about prosperity, winning, and victorious living, don’t you think?
You see, Ignatius, in his Spiritual Exercises, suggests that Holy Indifference is a conscious choice by those who have decided that they’d rather be found in Christ than to take their lives into their own hands. In a contemporary translation, look at this founding principle of faith from the pen of Ignatius:
God loves us, creates us, and wants to share life with us forever. Our love response takes shape in our praise and honor and service of the God of our life.
All the things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we show reverence for all the gifts of creation and collaborate with God in using them so that by being good stewards we develop as loving persons in our care for God’s world and its development.
But if we abuse any of these gifts of creation or, on the contrary, take them as the center of our lives, we break our relationship with God and hinder our growth as loving persons.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some responsibility.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a more loving response to our life forever with God.
Early followers of Ignatius, the Jesuits, called this statement of Holy Indifference the Principle and Foundation. As we discussed last time, in Ignatian vocabulary, this term, Holy Indifference does not mean an unfeeling lack of concern, a resignation from reality, or adopting a “don’t worry-be happy” lifestyle. Instead, Holy Indifference means that you and I hold all of God’s gifts reverently, gratefully, but also lightly, embracing them or letting them go, all depending on how they help us fulfill our vocation to love in everyday, concrete details.
As I see it, Holy Indifference is the ultimate spiritual freedom; a stance of openness to God, where we look for God-activity in any person, any situation, and any moment, and means that we are free to love and serve as Christ desires.
Paul apparently found that freedom when he stopped asking God to take away his handicaps and limitations and simply moved forward in Holy Indifference, knowing that God’s strength would be made more evident, not despite his weaknesses, but actually through them.
You see, the gift of Holy Indifference is not for sissies. No “whatever-may-be-may-be” attitude here, but a strong, pro-active stance that demands that we will find peace and contentment, not in our worldly circumstances, but in and through Christ, and Christ alone. In fact, all this reminds me of the first verse of the old hymn…
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
My prayer: Jesus, it’s admittedly very hard to step into a place where I no longer work to overcome my handicaps and limitations, but simply allow Your strength to become evident through them. Holy Spirit, I believe You can give me this gift of Holy Indifference so that my hope can be built exclusively on Christ’s blood and righteousness. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So, what personal handicaps, limitations, and assorted sinking sands are vying for my attention today? Is my focus on these issues overshadowing my ability to lean wholly on Jesus? If so, what steps of Holy Indifference do I need to take that will free me to be found standing on Christ, the solid Rock, alone?
How are you experiencing God as you ponder on these Ignatian truths today?
Over a period of twelve weeks (3 sessions per week), we will take this journey into Iggy’s Biggies, contemplating twelve foundational truths found within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We suggest you bookmark our blog series homepage to keep all the writings in one place for your future reference. Take note that each blog session begins with a short scripture reading. My suggestion is that you don’t hurry through, or skip the text, but treat it as a Lectio Divina reading where you slow down and sit a bit with God’s Word, allowing it to penetrate and influence you as you read.
If you’ve never journeyed through the Exercises, might I suggest that you find a qualified spiritual director and ask them to accompany you along the way? Here at The Contemplative Activist, we can offer a good number of highly qualified folks to do just that.
Oh, and if you enjoy what you’re reading here, we encourage you to share this page and our website, The Contemplative Activist, with your friends!