Adolfo Nicolas SJ [Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus] once shared his perception on St Ignatius: what he admired and found very attractive is his ‘depth’. Ignatian Spirituality is a spirituality that calls for greater depth in whatever we are doing. To place Jesus at the centre and rely on the guidance and activity of the Holy Spirit.
St Ignatius was able to go so deep because he ‘gave himself over to God’. He allowed God to lead the way. Greater depth means greater insight into oneself and the world around us. We often think that Ignatius’ conversion happened as he recovered in Loyola after his leg was shattered in Pamplona.
We know that Ignatius had more than one conversion. At Arevalo in 1517 at the age 26 his protector was expelled from the Royal Court. This marked Ignatius for life, he began to ask questions about the deeper meaning in life. Loyola was a religious conversion to Jesus, as he read the life of Christ. Monserrat and Manresa were a conversion to poverty, he gave his fine clothes away to the beggar. He set out for the Holy Land alone, he did not want to rely on anyone for help. However, when he was expelled from Jerusalem, he faced the reality of an ecclesial authority. This led him to take another look at his way. He became aware that he belonged to a church, and he needed help from others, this was a conversion to community. The Cardoner vision led him to understand all things which seemed new to him. This was a conversion to the world, to see all things new in Christ.
Ignatian spirituality is for the world, in the world. As God has led us and will continue to invite us to deeper understanding, let us look again at our way, and pray for the grace on this feast of St Ignatius, to be open to the conversion experiences in our lives and in the lives of the people around us.
Ian Cribb SJ