Prayer of Saint Ignatius for a fairer and more generous world


Many prayers are associated with Saint Ignatius of Loyola, whose feast day is July 31. (While the churches and other apostolates under the care of the Jesuits, of which Ignatius is the patron, celebrate his feast day as a solemnity no matter when it falls, a saint’s feast day is usually replaced by a Sunday when the two coincide (The readings in this column are for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.) Prayer for generosity is especially important today:

“Even though one may be rich, one’s life is not made up of possessions.” (Lk 12:15).

liturgical day

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)


Ecc 1:2-2:23; PS 90; Col 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21


Do you share your resources with others?

What can you do to fight poverty and be more generous?

How can Saint Ignatius inspire your prayer life?

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve,
Give and not count,
To fight and disregard wounds,
Work and do not seek rest,
Work and seek no reward,
Except knowing that I do your will.

In the Gospel of this feast of Saint Ignatius, Jesus teaches generosity through the parable of the rich man. Someone in a crowd asks Jesus: “Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me”. Jesus responds to this statement by teaching the principle of generosity. First, Jesus frames his answer by directing attention to possessions, already suggesting that the speaker’s interest in getting rich is not the most important. Next, Jesus teaches generosity through the parable of the rich man, often called the rich fool because he does not know how to live well.

In the parable, a man has a bountiful harvest, and when he recognizes his wealth, he decides to store all his possessions. He builds larger storage facilities, hoarding what he has for his personal pleasure. The man congratulates himself on his wealth and his ability to save. He also plans a life of leisure since he has no financial worries.

After doing these things, the man is confronted by God who calls him a fool for his actions. The criticism is manifold. The man was not generous with his possessions. Likewise, he gave his attention to the bad aspects of his life. He withheld his treasures instead of sharing them, and that kind of abundance is not what God wants. As the text continues beyond today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his followers to give away their possessions and trust in God’s love and care.

In the teaching of Jesus, the importance of generosity is evident, as man is told that he will not be judged on the wealth he has accumulated for himself. He was not rich “in what counts for God”, namely generosity and service to others.

In addition to these principles, the parable encourages us to reflect on justice and the distribution of wealth. Man is able to accumulate wealth, presumably while others suffered in poverty. How is this man able to accumulate so much that he has to build bigger buildings to house his bounty? Man’s greed could imply that others do not have access to the material wealth he has. This parable can inspire us to think broadly about social and economic justice in order to promote equity and access to needed resources.


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