last modified: Tuesday - III - 4 - 2003   

Saint Ignatius Loyola: Saint Peter's Basilica, Rome



Prayer to Obtain the Grace of Understanding the True End of Man

Man was created for this end: to praise, reverence, and serve the Lord his God, and by this means to arrive at eternal salvation. All other beings or objects placed around man on earth have been created for him, to serve as means to assist him in the pursuit of the end for which he was created.

We must, then, above all things, endeavor to establish in ourselves a complete indifference with regard to all created things, even those of which the use is not forbidden us; not preferring, as far as depends on us, health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to humiliation, a long life to a short one; since good order requires that we wish for and choose, in everything, what will lead us most surely to the end for which we were created.
(Text of St. Ignatius.)

For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?
(St. Mark viii. 36, 37.)

Jesus said: "Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment."
(St. Matt. xxii. 37, 38.)

Jesus said: "The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve."
(St. Matt. iv. 10)

Lord, Thou hast created me. Thou hast created me for Thyself - to praise Thee, to reverence Thee, to serve Thee. It is by applying- myself to Thy service that I shall save my soul. All other things placed around me in this world are there as so many means whereby I may be conducted to the great final end of my creation, which is two-fold yet one: to serve Thee and save myself.

Teach me, Lord, to do my duty, my only duty in this world, which is for the fulfilling of Thy intentions and designs, to discern amongst Thy creatures - 1st, those which may aid me, so as to use them so long as they may be of service to me; 2nd, those which may be harmful to me, so as to reject them inasmuch as they may be injurious to me. If I accept some and reject the others, may it be solely with the view of glorifying Thee, and of being always within the order of Thy will.

But since my courage may give way, since my heart may be fascinated by these extraneous creatures, defend it, 0 my God, and assure to it safety and freedom from the seductions of the world. Grant that, indifferent to all that is not commanded by Thee, indifferent to all those creatures the use of which Thou hast not even forbidden, my heart may neither desire nor seek amongst the multiplicity of creatures and the vicissitudes of life aught but what is needful for the fulfilling of Thy will.

May health or sickness, riches or poverty, honors or contempt and humiliations, leave my soul, if not insensible, at least in that state of holy indifference to which I desire to attain for Thy greater honor and glory; for this I pray. I will and desire that it should be thus with me, and I firmly resolve continually to restore my will to this necessary equilibrium, so that it may always be inclined solely by the motive-power of Thy holy will.