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Keeping first things first

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, wanted to keep life simple and properly focused for his followers. Thus, he advised them: "In every good choice ... our intention must be simple. I must consider only the end for which I am created — that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul: Hence, whatever I choose must help me to this end for which I am created."

Of course, we have to remember that Ignatius did not see the salvation of one's soul as a solitary project. On the contrary, a person's role in salvation is to be open to God's grace in their lives — and to respond by accepting the role of being an instrument of God's grace by serving others.

"My first aim," Ignatius continued, "should be to seek to serve God, which is the end, and only after that, if it more profitable, to have a good job or marry, for these are means to the end. Nothing must move me to use such means, or to deprive myself of them, save only the service and praise of God, our Lord, and the salvation of my soul."

Of course, since we are naturally inclined to become preoccupied with the cares of the world and our worldly responsibilities, it is a constant effort to try to stay focused on loving God first and foremost as the end of our lives. That's why prayer and regular reception of the sacraments is so important in the devout Catholic life.

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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