10 Things to Love About Ignatian Spirituality

Rebecca's coffee mugEditor’s note: This post is part of “Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality.” 

Here are 10 things I love about Ignatian spirituality.

1. It promotes lasting happiness.

One of my friends gave me a coffee mug that reads “Do more of what makes you happy.” Every morning, it makes me happy just thinking about doing things that make me happy! I am also reminded of St. Ignatius’s belief that those noble desires closest to our hearts that make us most happy deep down—not passing fancies or things that we want but know aren’t good for us—reveal God’s plan for us. Ignatian spirituality helps us to get in sync with God’s plan for each of us. When we are working along with God’s plan we are most deeply happy and fulfilled. The question to be constantly asked in decision making is, “What do I really want, deep down?” That’s what God wants too. God wants what is best for us.

2. It helps us to come into relationship with God.

Ignatius taught that we are put on earth to praise, reverence, and serve God. Yet relating to the concept of God can be difficult. Through the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius takes the abstract concept of God and facilitates an intimate and personal relationship in which we come to know God’s gentle and compassionate love for each of us.

3. It helps us make good decisions.

It’s often hard to choose the best path. In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius laid out a solid framework through which a person can make good decisions.

4. It’s accessible.

Ignatius taught that God can be found in all things. Every day, God’s love is active and demonstrated in the people, places, and things around us—not just in big, grand gestures but often in the moments of everyday life. We just need to keep our eyes open!

5. It encourages balance.

Ignatius encouraged his followers to take care of themselves in body, mind, and spirit. He also encouraged an even-keeled and grounded approach to life, neither dwelling too long on the bad nor on the good. Ignatian spirituality offers a balanced, realistic outlook and a practical approach, not just to spirituality, but to life in general.

6. It encourages gratitude and optimism.

Over the years, Ignatius developed an “attitude of gratitude.” He found daily life to be laden with gifts from God, whom he found in all things. He incorporated gratitude as an essential component of his daily Examen. Rooted in his deep faith in a living Savior who came to earth and died to redeem each of us, Ignatius’s example inspires a hope-filled confidence that, through Christ, all will be well.

7. It encourages positive communication.

Ignatius encouraged his followers to assume the best in others. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius advised retreatants that, “it should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it. Further, if he cannot interpret it favorably, one should ask how the other means it. If that meaning is wrong, one should correct the person with love; and if this is not enough, one should search out every appropriate means through which, by understanding the statement in a good way, it may be saved.” (Presupposition, SE 22) How many misunderstandings might be avoided if we brought this communications approach to our daily life as well!

8. It keeps us connected.

Followers of St. Ignatius are called to be “men and women for others.” This requires us to be connected in community, sharing our gifts and serving others. As we serve, we start to “walk in the shoes” of others, and we grow in compassion.

9. It helps us become our best selves.

When we experience true kinship with our brothers and sisters throughout the world, we want to work in partnership with God in helping to eradicate injustices. In this way, Ignatian spirituality encourages us to do more and be more, revealing our best selves.

10. It helps us make the world a better place.

As we walk in solidarity with others, seeing Christ in each person and striving to alleviate their suffering, we make the world a better place. Ignatian spirituality enables us to work in a real way toward building the Kingdom of Heaven on earth—and this gives great glory to God.

When I sip my coffee and think about this, it makes me happy—deep down happy. How about you? What do you love about Ignatian spirituality?

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Rebecca Ruiz
Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has been trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through Fairfield University’s four-year formation program. Rebecca served in refugee resettlement for nearly 15 years and has also worked as an ethnomusicologist, composer, and writer. She and her husband have two sons and live at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”


  1. The thing that I always wanted deep down since I was 15 is something that I have never been given. It isn’t a bad thing. In itself it is a good thing. I accept that it isn’t what God wanted for me and I know that now it will never happen but the feeling of it being that one thing that I long for deep down won’t go away. My life isn’t miserable and I try very hard to find something else but there is a big gap in my life that nothing else ever came near filling. If what God wants for us is what we want for ourselves deep down why haven’t I been able to want something else instead over all the years that I have tried to do this? Any ideas on how I could move past this?

    • I am so happy to read your question – as I have almost exactly the same questions about my life. What I’ve yearned for and prayed for my entire life — from my teenage years and now, as I’ve just turned 60 — has obviously not been in God’s plan for my life. Most of the time I have the grace to accept it….but there are still moments I which I feel such despair and sadness.

  2. I love Ignatian spirituality because of the servitude aspect. We serve such a marvelous, wondrous God. It comforts me that others know that and are serving Him.

  3. Grace be to God in all things, even happiness is a gift through the Holy Spirit, with Him, and in the Son&Lamb of God.

  4. Thanks Rebecca for the 10 Things. My path to the 10 things came through three steps: Interiority, Discernment and Contemplation. Bro Ramon Callo taught this through a one day retreat on “Examen and Entrepreneurship”. I am gratef;ul for the chance to video the retreat and have it transcribed. Bro Mon has given permission to write a book or workbook on giving the one day (tao 3 day retreat). Bro Mon has since been reassigned tp Rome by the Salesian Order. Problem: I am afraid to move forward with doing the retreat on May 25, 2019 following the flow of Bro Mon. Before I go to Guelph and learn more, how can I move forward with this project of Examen and Entrepreneurship? I’m scared but encouraged by your 10 Things..AMDG! Pray for wisdom on how I should move forward.

      • Update Rebecca. Just completed 30-day Ignatian Retreat at Sacred Heart Novitiate with Fr. Jomari Manzano as my Spiritual Director. Together with Sr. Imelda and Sr. Hazel from the Spinola Order we celebrated with a wonderful breakfast after mass to thank God, Fr Jomari and each other for the many many blessings the 20th annotation can provide a 76 year old. Eager to serve family on our journey to know daily through the Examen that “the greatest tragedy in life is not to be a Saint.” Thanks for your prayers. It works big time in my Theo-Drama Rebecca. Keep praying on how I can be An SD to others in their own Theo-Drama.

    • Thanks for this wealth of spiritual and daily help. What makes me energetic and revitalised is the ‘magis style’ as I call it. Not just the P /F but More which is being and doing out of love for the ‘greater glory of God and the Kingdom. I am so inspired with what you have shared. Daphne Stockman

  5. Ignatian spirituality continues to inspire men and women of goodwill to keep aiming at transformation of self and Society. Long live the memory of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

  6. Ignatian Spirituality has taught me – in an experiential way – that God walks with me as a friend through all the events of life, big and small. This makes me happy and secure. Every day is now an adventure. Same challenges, same weaknesses, but I now experience the presence of God with me. So grateful for this. Alleluia!

    • Hi Paul,
      I just love how you put it! It is truly life changing, isn’t it?
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience of Ignatian Spirituality.

  7. Thanks, Rebecca! Nothing has made me so aware of God’s presence as taking the time to see Him in all things and in all the encounters of my day. “Taking on” the Examen moved me from understanding that God is in all things to experiencing it and into gratitude for it. That’s what I love about Ignatian spirituality.

  8. Experiencing Ignatius Spirituality for me is helping me experience lasting “Happiness”, having little happiness growing up. Learning that through Praise, Reverence and Serving God can lead to the utmost Happiness that I can truly experience.

  9. When I discovered Ignatian Spirituality I knew that God had led me there for I could talk about falling in love with God and people understood what I meant. Through Ignatian Spirituality that love of God and the realization of God’s great love for me have both grown and I’m deeply grateful.

  10. SJ priest invited me to read about Ignatian Spirituality on Wednesday. I don’t regret a thing about the invite. It is so fulfilling, the journey within is so much more than just reading. Thanks Rebecca for sharing

  11. What I love about Ignatian spirituality is that it encourages me to go within. And when I do, I connect with the image that God has made me to be. And I connect with God. I recently completed 6 days of silence at the Seven Fountains Jesuit Retreat Centre in Chiangmai and it was an amazing “vacation with the Lord”. Half hour meditation 4 times a day, amidst the serenity of nature… I experienced God’s deep love for me.

  12. Every July, I tried to do an Ignatian Spiritual Retreat. It renews me and puts my heart at peace. I am so grateful for Ignatian Spirituality.com for this wonderful outreach to those of us who gain so much in terms of our focus on God. Thank you.

  13. Last night I watched a 2 hour movie about a family trying to escape the evils of murder and rape, and my own feelings of fear, anxiety and pain were heightened. This is torture for people who have endured tragedy.
    Instead of contemplating evil for 2 hours in the form of a movie, do something positive for others. Reflect on your day and pray for help to spread more joy the next day. My life doesn’t work without putting the Ignatian Way into action. I just experienced a reminder of this TRUTH. Thanks for your ministry!

  14. I like Searching for God in all things. I enjoy walking and find God in the beauty of the day and my surroundings. I also like to meet and talk with “street people”. I will not give them money but invite them to join me for lunch. I have learned so much from the people I meet and talk with. I know from talking with them that they feel invisible. Even if I don’t take them to lunch I will acknowledge their presence. One man walked all the way to town with me because he was worried about what might happen to me. How sweet.

  15. Thank you Rebecca for this article. It made me ‘deep down happy’ just reading it .Also, even the fact I love Ignatian Spirituality is a great gift from God. I am filled with gratitude which makes me even happier! AMDG…
    PS: at this time #8 is my favorite.
    Blessings on this lovely day. Suzanne

    • Hi Suzanne,
      So glad it made you deep down happy! You are so right – Ignatian Spirituality is a great gift from God – and the graces of gratitude and community are too! AMDG!

    • Hi Pam,
      Me too! This is so much to learn from St. Ignatius! And, his writings never get old because they foster a personal relationship with Jesus and open us to the workings of the Holy Spirit. We can read the exact same paragraph of the Exercises on two different days and totally different things come to light based on what the Holy Spirit is pointing out on that day. It’s wonderful.


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