Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola

Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Matthew (13: 54-58) about Jesus visiting his home town and teaching in the synagogue – ‘a prophet is only despised in his own country’. He then shares with us a little about the life of St Ignatius.

As his name indicates, Ignatius was born in Loyola and in his early years, as a young man, he was a soldier. At the age of 30, he was injured in the Battle of Pamplona and he experienced quite a lengthy recovery period. During those long days he read ‘A life of Christ’ and he also read a collection of books on the lives of the Saints.

Ignatius came to discern that he was called to serve God with all his life. He then did a year’s retreat at a Dominican Friary, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and, also, at that time learned Latin. He came under the suspicion of the Spanish authorities because of his learning and was jailed more than once for these activities.

Ignatius moved to Paris to continue his studies to become a missionary. He was ordained and then in 1540 he and a group of others formed the Society of Jesus (more commonly known as The Jesuits). Ignatius was their first Superior General and held this position until his death.

Fr Paul says, we also know that Ignatius had a deep spiritual insight and that he wrote what is called ‘The Spiritual Exercises’, which are a systematic step-by-step retreat that can be followed by anyone. It is still very popular and used to this very day.

So in our reflections, Fr Paul suggests, we might investigate the Spiritual Exercises and see if they have a relevance in our lives today and by using them we may come closer and deepen our relationship with God.