Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola! Ad majorem Dei gloriam.

28 Jul

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola

On July 31, the Universal Church marks the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. The Spanish saint is known for founding the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits, as well as for creating the “Spiritual Exercises” often used today for retreats and individual discernment.

St. Ignatius was born into a noble family in 1491 in Guipuzcoa, Spain. He served as a page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella.

He then became a soldier in the Spanish army and wounded his leg during the siege of Pamplona in 1521. During his recuperation, he read “Lives of the Saints.” The experience led him to undergo a profound conversion, and he dedicated himself to the Catholic faith.

After making a general confession in a monastery in Montserrat, St. Ignatius proceeded to spend almost a year in solitude. He wrote his famous “Spiritual Exercises” and then made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land, where he worked to convert Muslims.

St. Ignatius returned to complete his studies in Spain and then France, where he received his theology degree. While many held him in contempt because of his holy lifestyle, his wisdom and virtue attracted some followers, and the Society of Jesus was born.

The Society was approved by Pope Paul III in 1540, and it grew rapidly. St. Ignatius remained in Rome, where he governed the Society and became friends with St. Philip Neri.

St. Ignatius died peacefully on July 31, 1556. He was canonized by Pope Gregory XV in 1622.

The Jesuits remain numerous today, particularly in several hundred universities and colleges worldwide.

What is Ignatian Spirituality?

The goal of the spiritual life, as St. Ignatius conceived it, is to “choose what better leads to God’s deepening life in me.” This is a dynamic goal. We are to choose—to freely unite ourselves with God. Most of the time this means that we are to join with God in active work in the world.

This active life rests on a foundation of reflection. Ignatian spirituality teaches us to discern the footprints of God in our own experience. It shows us how to look back on our lives, to sift through our memories in order to see the way God has been dealing with us over the years. It teaches us how to find God in the present moment—in the relationships, challenges, frustrations, and feelings that we are experiencing today. The tools and methods of Ignatian spirituality instill in us habits of prayerful, thoughtful reflection.
The Examen Prayer

Ignatius wanted his Jesuits to make the examen a daily habit.  Twice a day, about midday and again before retiring, Jesuits were to pause for a while and review the events of the day in a spirit of prayerful reflection. This is one of the few rules Ignatius laid down for prayer.

The examen that Ignatius outlined in the Spiritual Exercises has five points: 1) be grateful for God’s blessings; 2) ask the help of the Spirit; 3) review the day, looking for times when God has been present and times when you have left him out; 4) express sorrow for sin and ask for God’s forgiving love; 5) pray for the grace to be more totally available to God who loves you so totally.

We might outline the examen prayer as follows:

A Prayer to God
God, thank you.
I thank you, God, for always being with me, but especially I am grateful that you are with me right now.

God, send your Holy Spirit upon me.
God, let the Holy Spirit enlighten my mind and warm my heart that I may know where and how we have been together this day.

God, let me look at my day.
God, where have I felt your presence, seen your face, heard your word this day?
God, where have I ignored you, run from you, perhaps even rejected you this day?

God, let me be grateful and ask forgiveness.
God, I thank you for the times this day we have been together and worked together.
God, I am sorry for the ways that I have offended you by what I have done or what I did not do.

God, stay close.
God, I ask that you draw me ever closer to you this day and tomorrow.
God, you are the God of my life—thank you.

Sometimes our prayer can get formal and abstract. The Daily Examen keeps our feet on the ground. This reflective, Spirit-led review of the day grounds our prayer in concrete reality. Because we are God’s sons and daughters living in a world that he loves and sustains, we can be assured that we can hear his voice in our lives in this world.

There is one final advantage to making a habit of the Daily Examen: We will never run out of things to pray about. Sometimes prayer gets dry. Sometimes we wonder what to say to God. The examen eliminates these problems. As long as we have twenty-four hours to look back on, we will have hundreds of things to talk to God about—and to thank him for.

Source : http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/reflection-and-our-active-lives
Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint.php?n=549

Camino Ignaciano Pilgrimage ~ 15 Days
September 26, 2017

FR. LOUIS CATALAN, SJ
Click here to learn more

Follow the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola on a unique pilgrimage. Trace the same route he took from Loyola to Manresa. We invite you to a 15-day Camino Ignaciano Pilgrimage with Fr. Louis Catalan, SJ leaving on September 26, 2017. Fr. Louis will lead reflections and prayers based on the Spiritual Exercises during the course of the pilgrimage.

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