St. Ignatius Loyola—before he was known as a saint—suffered a severe leg injury and faced a prolonged recovery. In that long recovery, he had two books to read, one on the life of Christ and the other on the lives of the saints. One can almost imagine the sighs of resignation as the worldly young man reached for the books.
What started as a way to pass the time became the source of some new dreams. As Ignatius read about the saints, he began to imagine what his life would be like if he emulated their devotion to God and their lives of selfless service to others. He felt consolation in these thoughts and imaginings.
This experience became the foundation for one of his most important gifts to the world: the discernment of spirits.
And this was the beginning of the path this man would take to become Saint Ignatius Loyola, author of the Spiritual Exercises, another beautiful gift to the world, and founder of the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. His life was not without hardships, but his path never wavered as he strove for what he called “helping souls.”
Walking with Ignatius by Arturo Sosa, SJ
The Pilgrim’s Story: The Life and Spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola by Brendan Comerford, SJ
Just Call Me López: Getting to the Heart of Ignatius Loyola by Margaret Silf
St. Ignatius’ Own Story translated by William Young, SJ