Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labor and not to seek reward,
Except that of knowing that I do your will.
— St Ignatius of Loyola*
This is a hard prayer for me. I want to be this generous. I wish I could give and not count the cost. To labor and not to seek reward. But I’m not there (yet).
I try to be generous – with my time, talents, and money – but it often brings up fear of not having enough. I fear that if I give my time, I might not be able to do everything on my (long) to-do list. If I work hard, my efforts might be unappreciated or unrecognized. If I donate money, I might not have enough to take care of myself as I get older. And my generosity gets diminished as the result of all that fear.
So, this prayer, although difficult, is just what I need. And I get solace from the fact that St Ignatius must have felt something similar since he felt the need to pray for God’s help with these things. Apparently, he prayed this often enough to write it down, and it must have resonated with enough others that it continued to be passed down through the ages.
*For more info about St Ignatius of Loyola, see my post Good Advice from 400 Years Ago