Tomorrow is the commemoration of Ignatius Loyola. This is the Ignatius Year – from 500 years since Ignatius’ conversion (remembered May 20, 2021), through March 12, 2022, the fourth centenary of the canonisation of St Ignatius (with St Francis Xavier, St Teresa of Jesus, St Isidore Labrador and St Philip Neri), to the end of July next year.
The theme of the year is “to see all things new in Christ”.
Anglicans (it may surprise some) celebrate Ignatius. The Church of England’s Common Worship Calendar has “31 July Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556“. The Episcopal Church also includes Ignatius: “July 31 Ignatius of Loyola Priest and Monastic, 1556“
The Church of England description makes sense. With respect, The Episcopal Church’s description does not. Ignatius founded a Society, its members have no habit, do not live in monasteries, in fact move from place to place. Ignatius even abandoned the obligation of praying the Office in common for his Society. A “Monastic” he was not!
Ignatius, in my understanding, was an essential link in the chain from the desert, through Medieval monasticism, to the translating of the monastic to the domestic that I see as being so important in our own day.
A recent murder conviction, here, chillingly reminded how mindfulness and meditation techniques can be used for evil as well as for good. The ripping of spiritual disciplines out of religious and moral frameworks needs serious examination. Ignatius presents integrated desert disciplines which constantly connect one’s life and one’s prayer.
Almighty God, from whom all good things come:Great Cloud of Witnesses
You called Ignatius of Loyola to the service of your Divine Majesty
and to find you in all things.
Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship,
may we labor without counting the cost
and seek no reward other than knowing that we do your will;
through Jesus Christ our Savior,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.