Father Pedro de Ribadeneira, the secretary to St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, once recounted a story to illustrate just how selfless and flexible Ignatius was. He went to pay a visit to a former disciple who was very sick and depressed. At one point in the visit, he asked the man if there was anything he could do to bring happiness into his life and dispel the gloom and sadness he was experiencing.
The man thought about it for quite a while and then replied with a request that seemed completely silly. “If you could sing a little and dance a little as they do in your country, in Vizcaya, I think this could give me some consolation.”
Ignatius’ gifts were not those of an entertainer. So he didn’t jump at the chance to perform. But he did probe deeper. “Would that make you happy?” he asked. “Oh yes, very happy,” the man replied.
Ignatius figured the man had to be very sick, indeed, to make such a strange request. So he stood up and began to perform. When he was done, he said: “Please do not ask me to do that again because I shall not do it.”
But sometimes once is enough. The sick man was overjoyed. The depression that had been eating away his heart was lifted and he began to improve. After a few days, he was restored to full health.
Have you or would you be willing to extend yourself beyond your comfort zone as Ignatius did for a relative, friend, neighbor -- perhaps even a stranger? Is someone asking you to do that today?
Adapted and used with permission from Take Five: On-the-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius by Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris D. Stubna, Copyright © by Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.
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