Jesuits as Soldiers

It’s a common misconception that Ignatius Loyola set up the Jesuits along military lines, with a warlike outlook, a rigid chain of command, and unthinking obedience. Wrong, as Nathan O’Halloran explains in this post. Ignatius may have used military language, but it meant something far different than it means today. The knights Ignatius admired were following a person:

These knights were models for Ignatius precisely insofar as they made particular elections for the sake of particular personal ideals when drawn by particular charismatic figures. Whether this was for a lady or a king, there was a profoundly vocational and personal dimension to the decision of a knight to go on a quest, rather than any nationalistic one.  These quests had goals and were responses to persons.  The imperative came from inside the knight in response to a perceived value found in someone.

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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