Why Ignatians Pray The Golden Litany

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A Protestant, Richard S. Storrs, expresses well why Ignatians pray “The Golden Litany”:

“No man here is further from Roman Catholicism than I, yet I often pick up Catholic prayer books and turn to the Golden Litany, to which all other litanies seem comparatively superficial and weak. Of course, I cannot repeat it verbally, but some of its petitions are instantly recalled….

I read these sentences with others, from this marvelous Litany, and I touch the flaming heart of all that has been best in the Roman Catholic Church.

I cease to be amazed by the heroic self-devotion of Francis of Assisi, of Xavier, or of Raymond Luly. We need the same vision of God in Christ. There only do we face that element of self-sacrifice which in Him is eternal and supreme.

God suffered no self-sacrifice in planning the universe, or setting the stars in their places, or giving the seas their bounds. But when he gives up his Son for the redemption of the world, we see how much he cares for us ! When we know this unspeakable self-sacrifice, what a joy it is to be a co-worker with God ! What a magnificent courage is born within us, which fears no obstacle, quails at no danger, and marches always to the sound of the enemy’s cannon !

This time is critical ; as much so as when the barbaric hordes, your ancestors and mine, came down upon Rome ; as critical as when this continent was settled. It is a vastly critical time in the progress of Christ’s kingdom, with all the world uprising before us, with wealth enough, and men enough to meet the need, with only the Spirit to use them wanting.

Let us settle it in our minds, dear friends, that the world is not to be converted to God by good people sitting in pews and listening to sermons, even the best, or sitting in rocking-chairs and reading good books.

The work is vast, difficult, but possible; a work that calls for the labor of enthusiasm, for prayer and tears, for sweat-drops, and perhaps, for blood-drops. Contributions of money are not enough.

Our very life must be in it, in the temper of the Divine self-sacrifice ! But what a privilege and joy thus to work in it, with God himself, and all the saintliest spirits of the earth, now and aforetime !

Is it not the grandest testimony to the magnificence of human nature that God has made us co-workers, not in the primary work of creation, but in the far grander work of redeeming the world!

In this work we can make our lives luminous in this world, and bright forever with a celestial glory in the next. Dear friends, may God bring us, with all our souls, to this work now, and to that crown hereafter ! and unto Him be all the praise!”

                                                                                                                                                                                                    (Richard S. Storrs, “The Vision of Christ”).