10 Things to Love about Ignatian Spirituality

Rebecca's coffee mug

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 of 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?

About Rebecca Ruiz 27 Articles

Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has worked as an ethnomusicologist, composer, and writer, in academia, and, for the past 14 years, in domestic refugee resettlement in the Diocese of Arlington, VA. She and her husband have two children and live in the Washington, DC metro area. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”

Contact: Website

16 Comments on 10 Things to Love about Ignatian Spirituality

    • 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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. I love this calendar of 31 days with St. Ignatius. I especially like number one. I always feel the happiness that Ignatian spirituality brings. It is a very comforting yet challenging spirituality.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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