Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, understanding, my entire will. Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me. Your love and your grace are enough for me. Take Lord, receive all I have and possess. You have given all to me, now I return it. Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me. Your love and your grace are enough for me. Take Lord, receive, all is yours now. Dispose of it wholly according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, that’s enough for me. Your love and your grace are enough for me.
- John S. Foley, S.J., after Suscipe, a prayer of Ignatius Loyola
Last night, at our (now long past) Holy Week Service of Healing and Reconciliation, we sang that song. After contemplation and prayer, after confession and absolution, we asked God to take all that we are and all that we have – to empty us, and then to fill us with God’s own love and grace. It’s a radical request.
I have sung that song and prayed that prayer more times than I can count. I pray it when I am profoundly grateful, and I pray it when I feel broken beyond repair. It is my truth. It is the prayer of my heart, the prayer of complete surrender, and in those very stunning moments of my life, be they glorious or devastating, God’s love and grace are the only things that seem really real to me.
But what about the rest of life, the most of life, the work and play of our daily existence? Are God’s love and grace enough for us in those times too? The first thing Ignatius offers up in that beautiful prayer is his liberty. And that is very telling. Most of us live lives that are filled with choices. What dress shall I wear? Which restaurant will our clients like most? What is the very best school for my child? Which gym class today? Seafood, meat, vegetables, or poultry for dinner tonight? Shall I visit my sick neighbor or take some time for myself?
Pay attention. Count the number of choices you make in an hour – you’ll be amazed. Our entire lives are based on the premise that we have choices about nearly everything. It’s OUR choice. WE get to choose. Even those times when we feel like our choices are limited, ours are primarily first-world sorts of limitations, and when we really stop to think about it, the number of possibilities available to us is startling. There are times when even the most independent among us recognize that there are too many choices and that maybe all that freedom isn’t so good for us after all. “Take Lord, receive all my liberty…” (Suscipe) “… yet, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)
I wonder how our lives would be different if we asked the question, “What does God want?,” not just about the big things in our lives, but about the little things too? I wonder what would change if we cultivated an interior culture of wanting what God wants? Perhaps we could start with wanting to want what God wants. Or for some of us, maybe it’s wishing we wanted to want what God wants. Wherever you are on that continuum (and it goes on and on), tell God where you are and where you would like to be. Ask God for the love and the grace to come to that beautifully authentic place God wants for you – the place where we find “… abundantly more than we could ask or even imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20) Because after all, that is precisely what God wants for us. And surely, that is more than enough.