At the heart of what can seem like frenetic activity was an intimate relationship with God, which Ignatius often found difficult to put into words. His private journals show minuscule notations crowded beside his entries for daily Mass. As scholars have concluded, these indicate, among other things, those times when he wept during Mass, overwhelmed by love for God. Ignatius found God everywhere: in the poor, in prayer, in the Mass, in his fellow Jesuits, in his work, and, most touchingly, on a balcony of the Jesuit house in Rome, where he loved to gaze up silently at the stars at night. During these times he would shed tears in wonder and adoration. His emotional responses to the presence of God in his life gives the lie to the stereotype of the cold saint.
Ignatius was a mystic who loved God with an intensity rare even for saints. He wasn’t a renowned scholar like Augustine or Aquinas, not a martyr like Peter or Paul, not a great writer like Teresa or Benedict, and perhaps not a beloved personality like Francis or Therese. But he loved God and loved the world, and those two things he did quite well.
James Martin, SJ