Our Work

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It begins with a wounded soldier daydreaming on his sickbed.
  • Ignatian spirituality is rooted in the experiences of Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) whose conversion to a fervent Christian faith began while he was recovering from war wounds.
  • Ignatius gained many insights over a 10-year period during which he also helped others to deepen their relationship with God.
  • Ignatian spirituality is grounded in personal experience, and this makes it a practical spirituality well suited to lay people living active lives in the world.
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“The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”
  • This line from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ captures the central theme of Ignatian spirituality – God is at work everywhere:
    – Work
    – Culture
    – The Intellectual Life Relationship
    – The Arts
    – All of Creation
  • Ignatius states all things are presented to us “so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.”
  • Ignatian spirituality emphasizes discerning God’s presence in the everyday activities of ordinary life – “Finding God in all things.”
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It’s about call and response – like the music gospel choir.
  • An Ignatian spiritual life focuses on God at work now.
  • God calls – we respond.
  • This call-response rhythm of the inner life makes discernment and decision- making very important.
  • Ignatius’s rules for discernment are well-regarded for their psychological and spiritual wisdom.
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“The heart has its reasons of which the mind knows nothing.”
  • Ignatian spirituality places great emphasis on the affective life:Ignatian spirituality places great emphasis on the affective life:
    – The use of imagination in prayer
    – Discernment and interpretation of feelings
    – Cultivation of great desires
    – Generous service
  • Ignatian spiritual renewal focuses more on the heart than the intellect.
  • Our choices and decisions are often beyond the merely rational or reasonable.
  • Its goal is an eager, generous, wholehearted offer of oneself to God and God’s work.
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Free at last.
  • gnatian spirituality emphasizes interior freedom.
  • Ignatius counseled radical detachment: “We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.”
  • Our one goal is the freedom to make a wholehearted choice to follow God.
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“Sum up at night what thou hast done by day.”
  • The Ignatian mind-set is strongly inclined to reflection and self-scrutiny.
  • The distinctive Ignatian prayer is the Daily Examen, a review of the day’s activities with an eye toward detecting and responding to the presence of God.
  • To this end, the core of the Spiritual Exercises are the questions:
    – What have I done for Christ?
    – What am I doing for Christ?
    – What ought I do for Christ?
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A practical spirituality.
  • Ignatian spirituality is adaptable.
  • It is a set of attitudes and insights, not a set of regulations.
  • Ignatius’s first advice to spiritual directors was to adapt the Spiritual Exercises to the needs of the person entering the retreat. Ignatian spirituality respects people’s lived experience and honors the vast diversity of God’s work in the world.
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Don’t do it alone.
  • Ignatian spirituality places great value on collaboration and teamwork.
  • It sees the link between God and the person as a relationship.
  • The Spiritual Exercises are guided by a spiritual director who helps the retreatant to interpret the spiritual content of the retreat experience.
  • Similarly, mission and service in the Ignatian mode is seen not as an individualistic enterprise, but as work done in collaboration with Christ and others.
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“Contemplatives in action.”
  • Those formed by Ignatian spirituality are often referred to as “contemplatives in action.”
  • They are reflective people with a rich inner life who are deeply engaged in God’s work in the world.
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“Men and women for others.”
  • Ignatian spirituality places great value on collaboration and teamwork.The early Jesuits often described their work as “helping souls.”
  • Former Father General Pedro Arrupe, (1907- 1991), updated this idea by calling those formed in Ignatian spirituality as “men and women for others.”
  • Both phrases express a deep commitment to social justice and a radical giving of oneself to others.
  • The heart of this service is the radical generosity that Ignatius asks in one of his most famous prayers.

    Lord, teach me to be generous.
    Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
    to give and not to count the cost,
    to fight and not to heed the wounds,
    to toil and not to seek for rest,
    to labor and not to ask for reward,
    save that of knowing that I do your will.

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