The Reasons Why I'm Thankful for St Ignatius of Loyola
Today as we celebrate St. Ignatius of Loyola, I am jumping up and down with joy!!! I love this saint! It is because of him that I had the opportunity to dive deep into our faith and truly FALL IN LOVE WITH GOD!!! St Ignatius thank you for your spiritual exercises! They changed my life… I had to write you a letter in gratitude:
Dear St Ignatius ofLoyola
Thank you for your discovery of God’s immense love, thank you for diving deep into the Word and breathing through it and with it. Thank you for wanting more and receiving the great love that is. Thank you for your sincere desire to listen to God’s will and put His love into action through your works. Thank you for being a conduit of clear instruction for laypeople like me as well as the consecrated. Your journey took years and began with a death-threatening, life-altering moment of seclusion — while quarantined to your bed you experienced a rapid and abrupt halt of everything that was normal to you and a forced pause of life. While on that “death” bed, you were raised from the death of self into a new life, you were awakened, and you remained in that state of discovery of God’s LOVE for the remainder of your days. THANK YOU
Thank you for your courage to want more, your courage to convert your whole being (mind, body, and soul) to Christ, and your desire to share this newly discovered, deeply intimate, extraordinary LOVE of God with all. Thank you for your courage in asking the Pope if you could share this love with everyone and thank you for persevering when you were instructed to take 4 more years to contemplate, to pray, and to discern this new teaching.
Thank you for your time in isolation with God and thank you for discovering the map of discovery to lead others along the way to fall deeply in love with Christ. Through scripture you found a way — a very specific and Holy Spirit guided way through chapters, not in order as they were composed in the bible yet ordered in a way for the human heart to digest, to understand, to relate to one's life, and to integrate into the soul. Thank you for taking it slow at times — sweet encounters at other moments and abrupt uncomfortable awakenings exactly when needed. Thank you for guiding leaders of the faith to gently guide the way for others.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, because of your exercises my life has changed. I have discovered God’s Love anew, I have been born into a greater, deeper relationship with Christ that I did not even know I needed or wanted or longed for until I dove in. I can be stubborn, I can talk myself into not needing to change and not needing another lesson in life because I am “OK” for now, everything is OK. From the outside looking in, I am a very solid and devout Catholic: going to daily mass, praying the rosary, leading pilgrimages, and as you know following my call with My Saint My Hero. A nine-month-long class of “bible study” is something that is not always easy for me and often I would talk myself out of the need. However, something magnificent and supernatural occurred with your exercises. My heart opened to the sincere desire to continue with this practice, to dive deep, and to give it my all. I honestly would wake up early not because of an alarm but rather because I wanted to sit with JESUS and read the week's lessons together with HIM.
At first, I was in AWE by who God is. I felt like I was learning it for the first time. And then I was in AWE of HOW MUCH GOD LOVES ME!!!! As I began to discover WHO I AM IN GOD’s EYES, it was humbling at first, it was tough. In fact, my subconscious actually skipped an entire big lesson without even realizing it until my spiritual director asked me point-blank, "WHO AM I IN GOD’S EYES?" Wow, that was a tough one. I had to search into every corner of my soul, illuminate that which was hidden, bring it forth, look at it, feel it, ask for forgiveness, and lay it down at the foot of the cross. I had to admit my need for recognition from the outside world in order to walk through it to the truth that all of that is an illusion, all of that was building a wall between me and You. I had to look at it in order to see it clearly and then choose to break down the wall so that I could live in union with You. I had to be naked in your presence. That was a very tough, emotional week or two. Yet in the same breath, it was unbelievably freeing as I fell into Your arms, feeling loved exactly as I AM. None of the material world, outside recognition or fame, really matters. In fact, it actually was blocking me from You. What I disguised as a virtue was actually guiding me away from you rather than closer in union with You. I tapped the surface of discerning the spirit and acknowledged my own leaning into that which leans away from You. As I acknowledged this habit, I cried out for help, broken and flawed, and asked you, God, to step in and show me the way. It was as if I was awakened, enlightened, aware, feeling for the first time. And my Spiritual Director created the safe space for me to SURRENDER, to FALL, to CRUMBLE, to WAIT, and to SIT in it. To see it, to not try to control it or fix it but rather WAIT FOR GOD to pick me up and hold me close. I choose to surrender my will to YOUR DIVINE WILL.
One of my favorite lessons shared the desire LORD LET MY RESPONSES BE YOURS, let my actions be yours, let me love like you.
I fell in LOVE with LOVE. St. Ignatius of Loyola, you walked me through the peaks of awe, to the valley of self and death, to self, and back up to new sustainable heights within God’s love. Yes, I say sustainable because it is not a momentary high from a close encounter with God and a newfound miracle, but a true acknowledgment and knowledge of who God is and who I am within You. I feel different, I feel as though every step I take, I take it with You and for You. I know now who I serve… I SERVE YOU, GOD!
Like you, St. Ignatius of Loyola, I discovered this great love during a momentary pause, an abrupt halt, and a worldwide pandemic of 2020 when everything that I was working for turned upside down. I was at the last three months of my 9 in the exercises and I feel like God equipped me with PEACE and TRUST to handle the upheaval that has begun with this world pandemic. During this journey, we walked through tragedy, through suffering, through revival, and through a true miracle. I know that God is preparing us for what is to be — A soldier for HIM.
I pray with all my heart that I am and will remain a soldier for GOD’s LOVE, I pray that I will be a LIGHT for others and that I will hold TRUE to all that HE IS with full heart, mind, body, and soul knowing that I AM because HE LIVES WITHIN ME. May I truly love like HIM, be courageous, and be a soldier for God.
I stand in awe in the vastness of God’s Great Love and I dedicate myself to sharing this love with others and to make God’s Love visible through me through HIM. May God be with me and may I grow closer and closer in union with Him every day of my life until that incredible moment when all my actions and all my responses are HIS. LORD work wonders within me and through me. With You all things are possible. I know I am a work in progress, I am clay in Your hands. I also know that I have a sincere desire in every cell of my body to walk this earth in UNION WITH YOU! May Your will be Done! AMEN
St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for me.
–Amy D'Ambra/MSMH Founder and Co-Owner
Feast Day: July 31st
Saint Ignatius of Loyola is the patron saint of educators, educations, and soldiers.