that is, “Be opened”
Suscipe (Latin for "take"), a radical prayer from St Ignatius, is not found in any of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises, but
rather was included by Ignatius as additional material in regards to the
“contemplation for attaining love” at the end of the Exercises. In this
section, Ignatius speaks of the immeasurable love of God that is bestowed upon
all of creation, and then asks what he might offer to such a loving God:
'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and
surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and
your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual
And looking up to heaven, he
sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened” Jesus looks up to the Father. It is as if he always
wants to work a miracle in the Trinity, never alone. The Father and the Spirit
are in heaven. And he, even as a man in the world, always has access to
Even more: he draws heaven nearer in order not
to act alone, to be confirmed, to allow for participation in what he will do.
This divine, mutual sharing with another is what, throughout his whole life,
the Lord gives to us. For a whole context is there: the deaf-mute who lets
himself passively be led there, those who are active and bring him, and lastly
those watching, who will write it down. The Lord is there, who is God and man;
and heaven is there. A whole, immense sharing, then, in which each performs
what is his to perform, without our being able to know exactly what belongs to
That is Christian, already a kind of Eucharistic
miracle. The Lord gives his body because he is on earth; he gives his bodily
touch. He does not give only his divine power to work miracles. And he does not
refuse people’s help. But with his gaze toward heaven, he seeks the nearness
of the Father and the Spirit and the whole of heaven. Only then, after this
wordless prayer—for every glance up to heaven is a prayer for the Son—he sighs.
He sighs because he is tired, because power is going out of him again. He sighs
in obedience. And then he speaks the word Ephphatha. The man’s ears and
mouth are to open. They are to open primarily in a supernatural sense, which
secondarily draws the earthly sense after it. They are to open so that they can
receive faith, but also so that they can perceive and speak the audible words
was a Swiss physician, a mystical writer, and a stigmatist.
For von Speyr, the Son’s perfect embodiment of the Suscipe reveals to the world the love of the Father and the Trinitarian
relationships of complete openness and reciprocal love. Using the Suscipe
rather than philosophical categories, she describes the unity and distinctions
of the Persons of the Trinity with analogies of love and sacramental marriage
that maintain a unity that cannot be severed by time and distance.
Self-identity is a big deal in our society.
Knowing who we are enables us to journey forward through life with confidence,
a sense of direction and purpose, an accurate assessment of our capabilities as
well as weaknesses. Inevitably though, confidence wanes. Our struggle with
confidence is due by the fact that we hold onto a myth - a myth that says
we are autonomous and individual. In the gospel, the question Jesus addresses to his
disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” was not about his seeking his own
self-awareness. It was a question put to the disciples that would reveal to
them more deeply who he was to them in relation to one another and
themselves. Jesus opens up for them that 1) their ‘self’ is structured in and
through relationships with others, 2) this relationship is always unstable and
wavering when the Transcendent Other is not present and 3) 'confidence' is obtained only through Him as member of the Trinity. One obtains a constituted
‘self’ substantiated with authority and confidence when one is open to receiving as a gift their liberty, memory, understanding and will from the Lord. You can see how truly radical the Suscipe prayer is from St Ignatius.
'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)