It has been 500 years since St. Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion. Deanna Bartalini explains why she relies on his wisdom daily on her spiritual journey.
This year it is 500 years since Ignatius of Loyola was struck by a cannonball, had his conversion and began his journey with Christ. He founded the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, wrote the Spiritual Exercises, was an ascetic and theologian.
What is it about this man from Spain that is so important? There are many reasons, far more than can be said in one post. Here are my top three reasonsI rely on St. Ignatius' wisdom and why he is important to me today.
The Spiritual Exercises.
These changed my life. Along with thousands of other people, I’m sure. In these Exercises Ignatius teaches about desolation and consolation, discernment of spirits, detachment, praying with Scripture, and how to live for God. Most lay people use the 19th annotation to pray the Exercises, which takes 34 weeks. Or you can do an abbreviated 8-day retreat or take 30 days to make the retreat at a retreat house. There is also a book, Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley that is based on the Spiritual Exercises. He suggests going through the book in a weekend, but you could certainly extend it as needed.
Ideally this is a daily prayer to reflect on your day and ask for help for what is coming up next. Briefly, these are the steps: Put yourself in God’s presence, thank Him and review your day; be grateful for the good that happened during the day; recall your feelings and ask God if/how to act on them; look at where you failed, ask forgiveness; ask God to help you with whatever you need for the next day; close with an Our Father. Some people like to write this out, I sometimes use The Examen Journal to do this prayer.
He is practical.
The phrase “finding God in the everyday” is often attached to Ignatian spirituality. Do you want something that will help you in your daily life? This is why this soldier nobleman turned priest and then saint is still relevant 500 years after his conversion.
Our spiritual life is not one straight path, but I can see a dividing line on my own path. Ignatius is that line. Does this mean I have perfectly detached, always discern correctly and find God every day? No. I still mess up, trust me. Our spiritual life will never be prefect; however, St. Ignatius is a guide we can turn to as we grow, as life threatens to overwhelm us, when we need to make decisions, or want a new way to pray.
“For the greater glory of God” is the motto associated with St. Ignatius and the Jesuits. As we go about our daily tasks, no matter how ordinary and mundane, if we do it for the greater glory of God it helps us to find Him and know He is with us.
Who is the saint you rely on as a guide?
Copyright 2021 Deanna Bartalini
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About the Author
Deanna G. Bartalini, M.Ed.; M.P.A., is a certified spiritual director, writer, speaker and content creator. She is the founder of the LiveNotLukewarm.com online community, a place to inform, engage and inspire your Catholic faith through live, interactive faith studies. Her weekly Not Lukewarm Podcast gives you tips and tools to live out your faith in your daily life.