So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
I wonder how St. Ignatius and his first companions felt on this night in 1541. They were on the cusp of making a major commitment. The next day, they would walk across Rome to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside-the Walls, where they would profess their solemn vows as Jesuits.
We often hesitate at the thought of making permanent commitments, especially ones that reconfigure the whole of our lives, such as getting married or entering a religious vocation. Our culture feeds this anxiety, telling us freedom comes in having unlimited options available to us.
For St. Ignatius, freedom meant something different. It was found not in having many options, but instead in pursuing one option wholeheartedly, namely, the option for God and the will of God as it is made known to me in my life.
What commitment is God asking me to make that will bring me into a deeper freedom?
—Vincent Strand, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin Province, is studying theology in preparation for priestly ordination at the International College of the Gesù in Rome.
Lord, we desire to commit more deeply to you. We ask that you sharpen our awareness to recognize you in the comings and goings of this day. Teach us what it means to surrender to you. We give you our hopes, our sufferings, our gratitude. For you are our God and we are your beloved.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team