An Ignatian Prayer for young people

St Ignatius encounters Christ at La Storta - Icon by William McNichols
St Ignatius encounters Christ at La Storta - Icon by William McNichols

Today, Thursday 5 November 2015, the Jesuits remember All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus, which was founded by St Ignatius of Loyola. Several other religious orders and congregations which are inspired by the spirituality of Ignatius make up the ‘Ignatian Family’. Many of its members have, over the past two years, expressed concern about the way young people are being drawn into a violent fundamentalism in a perversion of religious faith. So today they are proposing a special focus on the youth and have provided a prayer for us to contemplate.

“There is a deep desire amongst young people to commit themselves to a cause often amidst a cultural context within which there is ingrained hopelessness despair and hedonism,” says Matthew Charlesworth SJ, a British Jesuit who is one of those behind the initiative. “Pope Francis has issued a challenge to young people not to lose hope, saying that the saddest thing is to see a young person who has, as it were, retired into hopelessness."

The members of the Ignatian Family who have proposed the prayer for today are currently based at Regis College in Toronto, Canada. In addition to Matthew Charlesworth, they include Sr Gill Goulding, who is a member of the Congregation of Jesus, which was founded by Mary Ward in 1609.

 “A key ingredient of the vow formula of Jesuits and some members of the Ignatian family is the ‘care of youth’,” explains Sr Gill. “It is grounded in the vision of the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises that we are created to praise, reverence and serve Christ Our Lord. It is elaborated in that call to mission and service of the Call of Christ the King and exalted in the contemplatio when we come to see all things as coming from and returning to the Father in and through the work of Christ in the world. As we search for new ways to share the inspiration and encouragement of the love of God at work in our world, we offer this prayer to the Jesuit and Ignatian families throughout the world.”

Gracious God, you have placed at the heart of our vocation a special care for young people. Give us we pray hearts and minds that are attuned to the contemporary needs of young men and women. Inspire us with your love and grace that we might share that inspiration.

Cause us to be signs of that hope and joy which you so desire to share with all people. May we encourage young people to walk the path of peace, justice and service without violence and hatred; so that they in turn may be a source of inspiration and hope to others.

Amen.