Ignatian spirituality is a way of Catholic spirituality founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish Catholic priest who lived in the 16th century. Ignatian spirituality is centred on a personal relationship with God through prayer, reflection, and discernment, and it emphasizes the importance of living a life of service and being attentive to the presence of God in all things.
At the heart of Ignatian spirituality is the practice of the Spiritual Exercises, a series of meditations and prayers designed to help individuals deepen their relationship with God and discern His will in their lives. The Spiritual Exercises are a 30-day retreat, although they can be adapted for shorter periods.
Ignatian spirituality also emphasizes the practice of finding God in all things, by paying attention to one’s experiences, relationships, and the world around us. This means being open to the presence of God in all aspects of life, both in times of joy and in times of struggle.
Another important aspect of Ignatian spirituality is a commitment to serving others. Ignatius believed that faith should be lived out in action, and he encouraged Christians to work for the greater good of society.
Ignatian spirituality is a practical, holistic approach to Catholic spirituality that encourages individuals to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, reflection, and service to others.
The Spiritual Exercises
The Spiritual Exercises are a series of meditations, prayers, and reflections designed to help Christians deepen their relationship with God and discern His will in their lives. The Exercises continue to be used to this day.
The Exercises are typically done in the context of a retreat, which can be either a 30-day silent retreat or a shorter, more focused retreat. The retreatant is guided through a series of meditations and contemplations that are divided into four “weeks,” or stages, that correspond to different aspects of spiritual growth.
During the first week, the retreatant focuses on recognising their sinfulness and need for God’s mercy and forgiveness. In the second week, the retreatant meditates on the life of Jesus and the call to follow Him more closely. The third week is a time of deeper reflection and contemplation on the passion and death of Jesus, and the fourth week focuses on the joy of the Resurrection and the call to mission and service in the world.
The Spiritual Exercises are a demanding and rigorous process of self-examination and discernment, but they are also a powerful tool for deepening one’s relationship with God and finding clarity and direction in life. The Exercises continue to be a valuable resource for spiritual growth and renewal.