Before he was to be founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola was a war-wounded soldier. The year 1521 found him recovering at his home in northern Spain from grave injuries suffered during the battle of Pamplona. Those many months of convalescence proved to be a journey of healing not just for his body but also his soul. Ignatius documented his conversion experience in letters, an autobiography and the Spiritual Exercises. They would become the foundations of Ignatian spirituality.
This spirituality is deeply rooted in becoming more aware of what is happening in your daily experience — finding God in all things. You can then begin to discern where the spirits of light or darkness may be trying to lead you. We become more aware of God’s presence in our lives and more attentive to His desire’s rather than our own.
St. Ignatius had mystical experiences that gave him an understanding of the importance of the Trinity — Three Persons in One God — Father, Son and Spirit. He was also committed to laboring with Jesus Christ carrying the Cross. Ignatius understood that God is an active God, ever at work in people’s lives. We are called to be attentive to this active God and promptly respond.
These are some of the hallmarks of Ignatian Spirituality. It is expressed in the arts, forms of prayer, Interreligious dialogue, the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus written by St. Ignatius and approved by Pope Paul IV in 1558. The Spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola animates all the works of the Society of Jesus — schools, parishes, centers of social justice, mission work, and spirituality centers — AMDG — to the Greater Glory of God.
Download The Spiritual Exercises
St Ignatius and Discernment by Joseph A. Tetlow, SJ