Ignatian Spirituality #1

“16 things for which I’m grateful to Ignatius of Loyola” by Dennis Hamm, SJ, Faculty of Theology (emeritus) Creighton University

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Homily on the Feast of St. Ignatius – July 30, 2016 – Saturday Vigil Mass, St. John’s Parish @ Creighton University

St. Ignatius heard that same gospel reading as a young man, along with the voices of Jeremiah and St. Paul, and after having his life seriously interrupted by the famous battle wound, waited out a painful recuperation. Then he made a pilgrimage to a Benedictine monastery, and spent a year praying in a cave near the town of Manresa.  All of this led to an adult conversion that sent him back into the world to live a life so connected with God that the world has never been the same since…

On this Feast of St. Ignatius I simply want to share what came to me when I sat down and listed things I want to thank Inigo of Loyola for, things that really might not have been had Inigo of Loyola not been born, and eventually listened to the Holy Spirit working in his life. So far, the list numbers sixteen items. Let me dare to name them. You know three-point homilies. Here come 16 points.  I’ll be brief.

  1. Thank you, Ignatius, for taking seriously you own spiritual journey. St. Paul wrote the Corinthian community, “Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.” Ignatius was convinced that what happened to him in that cave, could apply to anyone who opened his heart to the risen Christ in the way he did. And he left us his manual of prayer formats to help this happen, in conversation with a guide who could follow along help them listen. He called it the Spiritual Exercises.
  2. Thank you, Ignatius, for teaching us to take our emotional life seriously as part of Christian life. Sometimes people think Ignatius promoted a Zen-like detachment. In fact, his talk about indifference is confined to the desired state of mind when one is facing a major decision. Ordinarily, the Christian life entails living out ordered desires, and he taught us how to make sense of those desires as we tried to discern the will of God in our daily lives.

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