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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy St. Ignatius Day :-)



Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus and the author of the Spiritual Exercises.

I feel grateful to Ignatius .... before I learned about him and participated in the Creighton University online version of his Spiritual Exercises retreat, I'd pretty much given up on God. One could spend forever explaining his spirituality, and there are elegant expressions of it to be found online (check out Fr. Marsh's blog :-), but I'm not up to the challenge myself. What I can say is that the Spiritual Exercises touched me ... Ignatius believed Jesus/God can be directly experienced, and wants to be directly experienced, by each of us ... and that's what happened to me.

Here below is a bit of an open letter written in the name of Ignatius to those wishing to make the Spiritual Exercises (actually written originally by John Veltri SJ and reformed by John Reilly SJ.) I first read it about the time I began that online retreat and i found it moving .....

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To You From Ignatius...

We can meet God personally.

I experienced a direct and personal meeting with God, particularly during the months of 1522, at Manresa, a small town near Barcelona in the northeast of Spain, where God taught me like a child at school.

Yes I, Ignatius of Loyola, Inigo as they called me, experienced God ... Father, son and spirit ... nameless and unknowable, mysterious and yet near, sharing God self with me in a manner beyond all concrete imaginings.

I experienced God in nearness and graciousness impossible to confuse or mistake.

I experienced God, not simply human words describing God but God, God's very self.

I experienced God's glory. I knew God, as you would say today, experientially.

This is grace ... a divine gift.

I believe that God ... Father, son and spirit ... desires to give this same give to everyone.

The grace that I received during those months at Manresa was not something that I considered a special privilege for myself or a chosen few. I wrote down the process of my experience in a notebook which I called Spiritual Exercises. I gave me Spiritual Exercises to anyone for whom such spiritual help might be profitable .....

To experience God directly and learn that the mystery we name God is near to each of us and meets us personally, is the goal of the journey of the Spiritual Exercises. Do you desire that the father, son and spirit share themselves with you?

Do you desire to base your life choices on the experience of God's desire for you? Then enter confidently into the Spiritual Exercises .....

During a Spiritual Exercises my hope for you is that week by week, slowly and gradually, you'll come to a greater ease and the greater familiarity and entering the mystery of God, and feeling God's love for you in the way I was able to experience God's love for me. My hope is that you will grow in spiritual freedom, in love for God and in union with God, through a deepening love for Christ, our risen Lord and leader. Later in your life, as you grow in faith by continuing to reflect on the Word of God, you'll find more readily which God desires and once for you in different situations. You'll recognize more readily Christ in all people, in their struggles towards freedom. And you'll be able to make true and good choices and all you do and all you are .....

In your Spiritual Exercises journey may you learn how specially loved you are by God, Father, son and spirit ... mystery beyond us, word all around us, and breath within us, God's intimately shared self who as one desires to share with you all God is .....

United with you in Christ as you make this journey,

Ignatius.

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4 Comments:

Blogger PamBG said...

I feel grateful to Ignatius .... before I learned about him and participated in the Creighton University online version of his Spiritual Exercises retreat, I'd pretty much given up on God.

I expect that the fact you found God through his exercises would please Ignatius no end. :-) Probably also the folks at Creighton University.

Side comment: I use the Anglican Daily Office and William Wilberforce's day was the day before. There was a special collect for Wilberforce, but not for Ignatius, the latter surprising me a bit.

11:02 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Pam,

Wilberforce is probably so much more well known .... Ignatius needs his own movie :-)

12:00 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks for bringing up Ignatius, Crystal. It went by without my noticing it.

Good letter by Inigo.

3:09 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi Jeff :-)

4:03 PM  

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