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What is Ignatian Spirituality?
St. Ignatius of Loyola taught people how to become disciples of Christ through prayer, discernment, and practical spirituality. Learn how this approach can help you on your own journey.
Over 500 years ago, a cannonball struck St. Ignatius of Loyola in the leg during battle. That “cannonball moment” led him to change his life radically, and Ignatian spirituality was born.
It’s not a religion in and of itself, it is simply a way to approach our Christian faith. Ignatian spirituality serves as a map to a deeper relationship with Jesus.
Many Paths, One Jesus
There are many paths that you can take on your spiritual journey. You can learn from St. Augustine, John Calvin, Thomas Merton, Billy Graham, St Thérèse of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, Martin Luther, Henri Nouwen, St. Catherine of Siena, or even Joel Osteen (it’s your journey, not mine).
As different as those voices are, they had one goal in common: building a relationship with Jesus. And my personal favorite voice, St. Ignatius of Loyola, was just the same.
What stands out about Ignatius’s method is its practical approach to everyday life. His goal was not only to help you follow the path to God, but also to do it in a practical way.
Discerning God’s Will
As we grow and mature in our faith, we hope we are following God’s will for our lives. But what is God’s will? How do we know? And even if we think we know, how can we be sure?
Ignatian spirituality, among other things, has a strong focus on discerning God’s will for your life.
What college should I attend?
Should I date this person? Should I marry this person?
Where should I live?
Should I take this new job?
How should I serve my church?
Should I become a priest or pastor?
That’s a lot of shoulds. And each one of them has an answer. Ignatian spirituality can help you discern that answer.
Other Key Thoughts
Beyond discernment, Ignatius was known for some unique, if not radical, approaches to faith. So much so that he faced the Inquisition multiple times. Yes, that Inquisition - the “burn at the stake” Inquisition.
It was the height of the Reformation, and Ignatius tried to rise above all of it simply to lead people to a personal relationship with God. Catholics can accept him because the Church accepts it (hence, he didn’t burn at the stake). Protestants can accept it because he promoted controversial ideas.
See, everybody can like him, right?
His ideas included:
Trying to find God in all things.
Using our thoughts and emotions to guide us to God’s will.
Being a “contemplative in action.”
Examining your heart daily in prayer.
Serving the whole person (“cura personalis”).
Instead of going deeper into it, here is a link to the Directional Faith main website where I offer The Ultimate Guide to Ignatian Spirituality.
Learn More About Ignatian Spirituality
On this site, I will take Ignatius’s approach: helping others to apply spirituality to their daily lives. I want to help people grow deeply, madly in love with God through the Holy Spirit.
If you want to learn more, subscribe to read my weekly reflections on life and spirituality.