Ignatian Spirituality is named after a sixteenth century saint, Ignatius of Loyola. Íñigo López de Loyola (1491-1556), who later in life took the name Ignatius, was a nobleman from the Basque region in the north of Spain. He was a complex man, driven by great desires. As a soldier, he was struck on the leg by a cannonball while defending Pamplona Castle against the French, an injury which nearly ended his life. He went through a long and painful period of convalescence during which he experienced a major conversion. This was followed by a time of “spiritual pilgrimage” leading, years later, to the founding of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits.
Ignatius developed a way of personal spiritual growth based on his experience that God deals directly with us. He wrote down his spiritual practices in a book called “The Spiritual Exercises”, which is still relevant for modern women and men. His spirituality fosters interior freedom and facilitates good life decisions. The Spiritual Exercises have been variously named “a school for prayer”, “a school for discernment” and “a school for loving action”.
Ignatian spirituality helps us to build a personal relationship with Jesus. It has many elements including intimate dialogue with Christ, individual reflection on how God is present in our daily lives and prompts us to ask: What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ?
This dialogue, in turn, allows for the possibility of a wonderful shift in our perception. It becomes our prayer, providing a new foundation for how we relate to Jesus within the context of daily life. Our decisionmaking, whether small or potentially life-changing, takes place in this intimate relationship with God & leads to positive action in our lives.