IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA
"I want and I choose what better leads
to God's deepening life in me."
Ignatius Loyola's life was characterized by change. Born into a large noble family in 1491, Ignatius was the last in a long line of children, and he lost his mother at a very young age. As older siblings married and made their fortunes, Ignatius went to the household of the royal treasurer to be apprenticed as a courtier, but when his patron died, he entered military service. On May 20, 1521, he was placed in charge of the defense of Pamplona against an attack by French forces. Severely outnumbered, Ignatius refused to surrender and played a leading role in rallying the troops until he was struck down by a cannonball that crippled him, crushing the bones in one leg and seriously wounding the other. His life as a courtier--in fact, life as he had previously known it--was over.
Recovering from his wounds and overwhelmed by his circumstances, Ignatius began to find hope and inspiration in spiritual books. When he was well enough, he went on pilgrimage at the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, began to pray and develop spiritual practices, and spent a year in a cave at nearby Manresa. There he developed what would become the Spiritual Exercises, a four-week program designed to stimulate self-knowledge, familiarity with the way and teachings of Jesus, and deepening collaborative partnership with God.
Emerging from this experience, Ignatius now lived to share the transforming impact of relationship with God with others. Preparing for this mission required him to study theology, engage pilgrimage, and learn at the margins of society as he begged alms to support himself. Joined by companions, he eventually founded the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1540.
Ignatius’s impact without an endowment to
support the religious community. Her profoundly incarnational spirituality led her to recognize
and model the sovereignty of human dignity. Through her life and teachings, she introduces a
new contemplative tradition that integrates deep investment in the lives and challenges of
others with the empowering love of God in order to form communities of solidarity and
resistance to the forces that dehumanize us.
"Love ought to show itself in deeds
over and above words."
"God who loves us creates us and wants to share life with us forever.
Our love response takes shape in our praise
and honor and service of the God of our life."
"The most important qualities in the person
who enters into these exercises
are openness, generosity, and courage."
"The structure of these exercises
has the purpose of leading a person
to a true spiritual freedom."
"Like a potter with clay, like a mother in childbirth,
or like a might force blowing life into dead bones,
God labors to share divine life and love."
"God's love shines down upon me
like the light rays from the sun.
God's love is poured forth lavishly like a fountain
spilling forth its waters in an unending stream.
Just as I see the sun in its rays and the fountain in its waters,
so God pours forth a sharing in divine life in all the gifts showered upon me.
God's delight and joy is to be with the ones called God's children--
to be with me.
What can I respond to such a generous Giver?"
What do you really need?
The Impact of God's Love