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Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola: A Companion of Jesus

Most of us are familiar with the outstanding contributions that St. Ignatius made as a spiritual and religious leader, especially his Spiritual Exercises and his founding the Society of Jesus. As we celebrate his feast day, however, I invite you to reflect on two particular insights that undergird all he taught and accomplished: that God works directly with each of us and that in turn, each of us is invited to be a companion of Jesus. 

In defiance of the accepted notions of his day, Ignatius dared to teach that God communicates directly with his human creatures using every means possible, including scripture, nature, other people, human desire, and imagination. God is mediated to us not only collectively, through the Church, but individually as well.  This means that we can discern God’s will for us in the very particular circumstances of our lives.

One way or another, God’s “will” includes our accompanying Jesus.  Each of us is invited to be His companion, to walk with him, to relate with him in prayer, to share his mission…all in the very particular circumstances of our unique lives.  Our free will is never violated, but when we freely choose to accompany the Lord, and make him our true center, we give Glory to God.

I can think of no better way to honor St. Ignatius than to reflect on these essential points, and to consider how they are manifested in the particular circumstances of our lives.

Happy Feast Day!

- by Fr. George Witt, SJ