By Owen Phelps, Pd.D.

Director, Yeshua Institute

I’m not often tempted to pat myself on the back. At my age, I should know better. It would make my shoulder hurt. (Don’t ask me how I know that.)

Nonetheless, if I’m ever tempted to try – again – another simple but painful experience should deliver me from the temptation.

Despite more than a decade devoted to teaching people how to be Jesus-like S3 Leaders, when it comes to me being one myself, I’m not there … yet.

How do I know? There is a famous prayer composed by St. Ignatius of Loyola called Suscipe (Latin for “receive). It goes like this:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

I stumble on it every time I try to say it, which is often. There is always the same stumbling block.

I cruise right through asking the Lord to take all my liberty, my memory (what is left of it), and my understanding (however lacking). But then I see the next phrase – “and my entire will” – and I choke on it.

My “entire will?” Seriously. Ooh, that’s a toughie.

Yes, I know all that I am and all that I have – is a gift, freely given. And yes, I’m acutely aware that if the Lord does not actively will my life in the next moment, it will be over. Pfft! Gone.

So what is my problem?

Apparently I’m a pretty willful person.

Ignatius asked only for the Lord’s love and grace. That should be enough for me too. And in principle I’m good with that.

But give away my “entire will”?

I’m working on it. But I’m not there yet.

So I guess I should ask for something else – forgiveness. Yes, I need that. And I’m asking for it too.

Lord, I ask only for your love and grace and forgiveness – oh, and for a little more patience, now that I think about it.

I’m not there yet. And frankly, I’m not seeing a lot of progress. But I am working on it.

And with your love and grace and patience, it could happen. I’m hopeful. I’m trying.