After the Jesuits in Coimbra, Portugal, had established many vibrant apostolates, St. Ignatius had a concern. He was afraid their success would lead to complacency. If that happened, all their hard work and graces would ultimately accomplish nothing.
He wrote to them in a tone that makes it seem as if they were on the brink of disaster — no doubt because he thought their successes were leading them in that direction.
“For the love of God, do not be careless or tepid. For if tautness breaks the bow, idleness breaks the soul,” he cautioned.
“Try to maintain a holy and discreet ardor in work and in the pursuit of learning as well as of virtue ... One energetic act is worth a thousand that are listless.”
Notice that he doesn’t urge his Jesuits to become “workaholics.” Instead, he advises them to show ardor not only for work, but for the cultivation of learning and virtue as well.
The best option is to live a life that’s balanced — and not to let either our failures or our successes lead us into lethargy. Pray today for the focus and energy to persevere through good times and bad.
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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