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Ignatian Spirituality: About Ignatian Spirituality
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Ignatian Spirituality is the spirituality named after Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. The main characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality are:
  • It is Incarnational, having to do with our lived experience of God.
  • It finds God in all things, seeing all of life as a context for experiencing God’s presence.
  • It is centered on Jesus Christ and his life as recorded in the Gospels.
  • It frees our hearts from unhealthy attachments.
  • It invites each of us to become "contemplatives in action" giving our lives away for the sake of the world.
This wonderfully rich tradition of prayer and discernment has helped Christians for centuries to look for God in all of life, develop deeper intimacy in their relationship with Jesus, and actively share Jesus’ mission to the world.
Ignatius of Loyola

Ignatius of Loyola was born in the year 1491. His family was of the nobility of Spain. Ignatius, like many young men of his era, was inspired to serve his king as a soldier. He dreamed of doing great deeds to prove his fidelity and impress those at court, especially the women. In 1521, he was wounded in a battle against the French. As he recuperated from his wounds Ignatius read the lives of the saints and daydreamed about performing great deeds to win honor and glory. As he reflected upon these experiences Ignatius noticed how God led him to pay attention to where following the lives of the saints versus his own desire for fame and glory led him. He gradually learned to discern what things came from God and which drew him away from God. He also learned how important it was to look for God in his daily life and experience. He discovered that God was calling him to be a companion of Jesus. With a small group of close friends Ignatius founded what he called the Society of Jesus, better known today as the Jesuits.
Spiritual Exercises

Ignatius of Loyola developed a way of prayer and reflection built on his own experience in seeking how to best serve God. Ignatius believed this method of paying attention to God, which had deepened his own desire to love, serve and follow Jesus, was intended to be shared with others. It was a way to seek and find God in all things in order to gain the freedom to will God’s will in all of life. His experiences of sharing God’s love and faith with all kinds of people grew into the book he called The Spiritual Exercises. As an expert spiritual director Ignatius led others in three formats of the exercises: a thirty-day long retreat, a nine-month retreat in daily life, and a weekend retreat. Today thousands of people around the world have participated in 30-day, weekend, or nine-month versions of the exercises. The original Spiritual Exercises have also been adapted to include one, three, five, and eight day silent, guided or preached retreats.

Ignatian Spirituality: About Ignatian Spirituality
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