It is 500 years since Ignatius Loyola was struck by a canon ball on May 20. This led to his conversion – so well told in the above short video. It begins the Ignatian Year. The Year concludes on his feast day, July 31, 2022. On March 12, 2022, it is 400 years since the canonisation of Ignatius and of his friend, Francis Xavier.
I much prefer the original of the Ignatius video – and below this, I translate in summary 10 questions that we can work through connected to the video.
- Have you had a cannonball moment in your life – that turned your life upside down?
- Can you think of concrete events, attitudes, and people that give you happiness, but the happiness is short-lived? And of events, attitudes, and people the give you lasting joy?
- Have you had the donkey experience of handing a decision over to another?
- Do you see anything of yourself in Ignatius’ energetic imitation of others? Who inspires you? Have you failed in following your enthusiasm?
- What draws you in the person of Jesus? What does not? Who else do you look up to?
- Are you good at listening to your heart? How do you nourish and form this listening?
- Do you have companions for your ideals? Do you seek companions for your ideals? How do you experience this companionship?
- Ignatius’ life is more than words. What are your words and what are your deeds?
- Ignatius’ order, the Jesuits, have four preferences this decade:
- To show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment;
- To walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated, in a mission of reconciliation and justice;
- To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future;
- To collaborate in the care of our Common Home.
Which do you identify with – you could list them in order for you? Why does this speak to you?
- Ignatius discovered one can find God in all things – not just in church and prayer; where do you experience God?
A PRAYER OF ST IGNATIUS FROM HIS SPIRITUAL EXERCISES
Take, O Lord, and receive my entire liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will.
All that I am and all that I possess You have given me:
I surrender it all to You to be disposed of according to Your will.
Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.
PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION FROM THE SPIRITUAL EXERCISES OF ST IGNATIUS
You are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save your soul.
And the other things on the face of the earth are created for you and that they may help you as means to the end for which you are created.
From this it follows that you are to use them as much as they help you on to your end, and ought to rid yourself of them so far as they hinder you as to it.
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.
Ignatius is stressing we are made for God. Church, prayer, liturgy, all else – are means to that end. We so often turn that around, making peace, or money, or whatever our goal – and God the means.