Wednesday 3 April 2013

The primacy of God

On the humility [umiliazione] of having only God as our goal, Rossi de Gasperis has this to say:

Let us think, for example, of the problem of having a life mate. "I want to follow the Lord, but I cannot live alone. I absolutely need a companion, a wife, a husband, a community to which to belong, someone who will fill my loneliness." A natural, good and legitimate need like this can become absolute and can claim precedence over every other choice, to the point of conditioning even my following of Christ.

Ignatius foresaw this inversion of the criteria of choice.

as it happens that many choose first to marry -- which is a means -- and secondarily to serve God our Lord in the married life -- which service of God is the end. So, too, there are others who first want to have benefices, and then to serve God in them. So that those do not go straight to God, but want God to come straight to their disordered tendencies, and consequently they make a means of the end, and an end of the means. So that what they had to take first, they take last; because first we have to set as our aim the wanting to serve God, -- which is the end, -- and secondarily, to take a benefice, or to marry, if it is more suitable to us, -- which is the means for the end. So, nothing ought to move me to take such means or to deprive myself of them, except only the service and praise of God our Lord and the eternal salvation of my soul. (ES 169)
There is no doubt that human company is something indispensable for my existence, but it cannot be  the first condition to have in mind. My goal is the end for which I have been created - for the praise of the Lord our God and for my salvation; to this every relationship with other persons and with the goods of this earth must be subordinated. Anything that takes away from this wisdom carries the risk of making us serve idols. (Sentieri di vita 2.2:591-92)

Ignatius makes extremely concrete 'the primacy of God.' The very first choice I am called to make is God; and then, within that choice, all other choices.

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