There is a semi-famous story about St. Ignatius of Loyola that is told in his autobiography. This is a story you may be familiar with, but if not, the short version goes like this.
The newly converted St. Ignatius was traveling on a road in Spain to the shrine of Montserrat accompanied by a Muslim Moor.
They were discussing the topic of the Blessed Virgin when they had a disagreement about her perpetual virginity. Feeling tensions rise, the Moor rode ahead. St. Ignatius was conflicted as to whether he should defend Mary’s honor and ride after the man and kill him, or if he should take the other path which led to the shrine. After much internal struggle he was not able to arrive at an answer, so he decided he would just release the reins of the donkey he was riding and whichever path the donkey went down was the action he would take.
The donkey chose the road to the shrine, thus sparing the Moor’s life.
The story is a bit silly, and many would say that he was leaving the life of the Moor in the hands of fate or to the instinct of a donkey. Ignatius admits that this incident happened early in his spiritual life before he had developed spiritual maturity and the heart of discernment. In releasing the reins, St. Ignatius did so with the intent of serving God the best way he knew how, of surrendering to God’s plan.
This total surrender, this voluntary handing over of control (or what we perceive as control) is what God asks of us.
St. Ignatius was definitely on the right path (pun intended). This humility, knowing that all that we are comes from God, that all of our talents are gifts from our Divine Creator. This trust in God is what allows us to grow closer to the heart of Jesus. To rest peacefully and confidently no matter the situation at hand. It quells our fears, calms our tempers, and sews seeds of love and patience.
What happens when we are able to surrender it all to God?
When we can lay our anxieties, our fears, our stresses, and whatever else is weighing on us in God’s hands, trusting in him completely, and knowing that he is a Father that loves us unconditionally and will always provide for all that we need? What is it, and what does it feel like? … True Freedom