Why Ignatius Matters

July 28th, 2017 Posted in writing

A reflection for the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola (July 31)

Ignatius Loyola matters because his message and spirituality remind us of three important truths.

The first is that God’s response to our flawed and sinful world is not to withdraw from it in anger but to enter it more deeply and transform it from within through the life, death, and rising of Jesus. And since God has made his home with us in this world, we can seek him even in difficult situations and circumstances. Ignatius assures us God is right beside us no matter what.

Secondly, Ignatius reminds us that God wants to establish his Kingdom of justice, peace, love, and forgiveness in this world and that Christ invites us to work with him in this enterprise. He could do it without our cooperation, but he wants us to be his partners. Thus, the good deeds we do, the loving relationships we foster, and the help we give to those in need all contribute to furthering the Kingdom of God. If we are ever tempted to think that God doesn’t want our help, Ignatius reminds us we are wrong.

Finally, for his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius sought people with big souls and large hearts who would go above and beyond the ordinary service of God and neighbor, who would seek not just God’s glory, but God’s greater glory. He reminds us that the truly exemplary disciples of Jesus are those who have experienced God’s deep love in their souls and then spread it to as many people and situations as possible, even dangerous and difficult ones.

In our day, when people think God is absent or doesn’t need us or that we can be content with an uninspired and uninspiring commitment to God, Ignatius of Loyola tell us just the opposite.

That’s why, five hundred years after his death, he still matters.

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