St. Ignatius of Loyola

Lk 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’

But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.

Freedom to Desire God

As a child, I wanted to spend all my time with Samuel, my cat. Playing with Samuel even kept me away from family prayers. Finally, my grandmother said, “Patrick, be careful you don’t treasure Samuel more than you do God.”

Today’s reading from Luke is often read as a warning about financial wealth, but as St. Ignatius taught, when we become too attached to any of life’s good things, we lose our freedom to be all God created us to be. Loving my cat was not a sin, and in the same way, there’s nothing wrong with playing sports, logging onto Facebook, or having a good time with friends. To be truly free, however, we need to surrender everything to God. As we celebrate the feast of Ignatius this week, may we too have the freedom to desire God above all else—even life’s good things.

—Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, is a Jesuit regent and assistant professor of psychology at Creighton University. He is the Author of The Spiritual Work of Racial Justice and The Crucible of Racism.

Prayer

God, reveal to me, I pray, anything that I’m relying on for my security more than I rely on you. I thank you for all the good things in my life—and now I surrender them into your hands. Amen.

—Patrick Saint-Jean