Today, July 31, in the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Ignatius, who is from Spain, besides founding the “Companions of Jesus” as the order was originally known in Spanish, has given the church a wonderful approach to spirituality. I recommend this short video biography on You Tube by Fr. James Martin, S.J., a Jesuit whose books I’ve recommend in this blog, (My Lives with the Saints, Between Heaven and Mirth) as he tells the story of St. Ignatius.
Watching the video, I was reminded that much of my own spirituality and pastoral practice is formed by this great Jesuit, even though I never studied at a Jesuit institution. It’s just that my seminary spiritual director, a diocesan priest, was trained in Ignatian methodology, and so much of the training I’ve received in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, also, use the methods of Ignatius in “imagining” yourself in the scene of a Gospel story as part of the catechetical methodology of the Catechumenate, among other personal influences. If you listen to my preaching, teaching, and pastoral counseling you’ll hear echos of Ignatius’ dictum to “Find God in All things.” In my spiritual directing people and organizing parish life, you’ll hear echos of St. Ignatius’ concept that the disciple is to be a “contemplative in action.”
Of course the other great influences in my spiritual life are St. Benedict and St. Francis of Assisi. You wouldn’t guess that I was in seminary formation at Franciscan (Quincy University) and Benedictine (St. Meinrad Seminary) institutions, would you?
May everything you and I do be for “The Greater Glory of God.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
and while you’re at it, pray for one of your spiritual sons, Pope Francis, who visited the Rome “headquarters” of the Jesuits, today, to preside at Mass and visit the tombs of Jesuit saints. There’s an English translation of a nice homily the Pope gave to mark the occasion at the link.