Ignatian Wisdom #11: Fixing our Desires

October 25, 2011

 In Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation he says, “We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one.  For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.” (Paraphrased by David Flemming, SJ).  The concept of this statement is beautiful, but honestly, I find it very challenging.  

Truth–I want to be healthy, to make money, to be successful, and to live a long happy life.  The problem for me comes in when I fix my desires on these tangible things instead of fixing my desires on God.  It is easy to focus our full attention on getting ourselves healthy and staying healthy, on making money, or achieving goals.  What happens, though, when something we have fixed our desire on crumbles?  Do we crumble also?  Do we spin out of control when we get sick or when money stops coming in for some reason or when we are not achieving success in the world’s view?  
I believe what Ignatius was getting at and what our faith is getting at is rooting our lives in God– no matter what comes our way.  When we hit rough patches, our faith allows us to ask the question of where is God present in this?  I can assure you that no matter what, God is walking right along side us even when one of our “desires” crumbles.  We have two choices at this point- we either turn to God for help or we turn away from God and continue to re-piece our “desires” back together on our own. Which will we choose?

Where are our desires fixed? 
What “desires” get in the way of our relationship with God?

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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