Fr. K.C. Stephen S.J.
We are familiar with the life of our holy founder, St. Ignatius of Loyola. After his initial conversion experience at Loyola, he found himself almost literally and figuratively ‘trapped’ in a cave at Manresa – trapped by a constant and torturous barrage of numerous memories of his past sinful life. He tried to break free from that cave of darkness by an extreme regimen of penance in which he tried to atone for his past sins and the torturous scrupulosity that he was such a wretched sinner that God would never consider worth saving.

While Ignatius was beating himself up and starving himself, God was laboring hard to pull him back into the light of his love. It is this divine love that brought him out of the cave and he had the mystical experience at the river Cardoner that would forever change his life. In that moment of the light of God’s love, he understood how precious he was to God. He was filled with an overwhelming gratitude for God’s love. 

Thereafter, Ignatius lived to tell of God’s love for every person and the gifts God continually bestowed upon us. In the Ignatian sense, then, gratitude is a response to the encounter with the Divine. And we encounter God in the people, places, and events of each ordinary day. It filled him with a sense of gratitude every moment of his life. Ignatian gratitude for his generosity led him to respond, in turn, with radical generosity toward God. All that he had, his entire person, he returned to God as an offering: “Take, Lord, receive…” It is with this valuable realization that he went back into the cave to record his Spiritual Exercises!

This type of response can only come from a profound trust in God who loves us more than we can imagine and continuously manifests his love in his gifting. We need to ‘recall with love’ what he has done for each one of us in the 100-year journey of our mission, ‘relish with gratitude’ his innumerable gifts and blessings, and ‘respond with generosity’ because he is still laboring with us, despite the innumerable challenges that we face today. He labors with us! This is the clarion call of Dumka-Raiganj province as we enter into our Centenary year! “Recall with Love, Relish with gratitude, Respond with generosity”.