Not Quite a Do-It-Yourself Spirituality

Take a look at this short but great wisdom about Ignatian spirituality from Adolfo Nicolás, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus (The Jesuits):

Fr Nicolás says that Ignatian discernment is about the tools we have inside: our feelings, emotions, and interior movements. When you have to make an important decision you can’t always run to a priest or expert. No, you have to decide for yourself by turning your focus inward, into yourself. “It makes you aware of what is happening inside,” Fr Nicolás says. This can seem at first as a solely do-it-yourself spirituality, no outside help needed. On the contrary, Ignatian spirituality says this: Observe all the exterior inputs (advice from others, real experiences, practical reality), see what your interior says about this (through feelings and emotions), and place all of that in the context of God. The interior response is what can indicate God’s will. “What happens in me?” Fr Nicolás asks.

Ignatian spirituality is a treasure because it is a spirituality that requires your full involvement and God’s full involvement. Some spiritualities involve only self. They say that truth comes from within. Other spiritualities dismiss the self and seek only external signs of God’s will. Ignatian spirituality envelopes both of these things and says that one cannot work without the other. I cannot solely search within me for the answers and, on the other hand, I cannot discern what God desires for me if I do not look within. As Fr Nicolás says, this takes time and fine tuning to discern the signs within.

Put it into practice
>> For some ways to get started on putting Ignatian spirituality into practice take a look at the Prayer Resources page or start with this page from Loyola Press. Are you an Ignatian expert? Then read about Ignatian service or check out Anthony de Mello’s perspective.

Listen to an audio version of this post…

Music by Kevin MacLeod

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