Saving the World

Something to think about | Much of the reflection in the Exercises is geared to an effort to share the vision of Jesus and understand what he was and is trying to do in the world and its history.

The meditations are very clear in their implication that the task that Jesus received from God is not to save souls out of the world, but to save the world, to refocus and reintegrate all creation by drawing the human race back into its proper relationship with God—and therefore proper relationships within the human race and all the created universe.

Such a perspective judges everything in terms of what we can know of the divinely intended outcomes. Such a vision leads to radical judgments about the way we are conducting the affairs of human society now. Such a vision certainly does not allow one to take for granted wars; poverty; famines; injustices; marginalization of ethnic, racial, linguistic, or economic groups; or other unnecessary sufferings or deprivations.

One cannot simply say that this is how it is and how it will always be because the world is like that—in the context of the Exercises, that is plainly untrue. It is untrue because God does not intend that kind of arrangement of human society in which so many are excluded. These sufferings are not divinely made but humanly made. God has not abandoned creation but reaches out at all times and to all peoples with possibilities and grace for redemption—not, according to the gospels, a redemption confined to life beyond death, but redemption of all aspects of human life in this world which we help to shape for good or for ill.

—Monika Hellwig

An Ignatian Spirituality Reader


  1. Another important point that is made very well is that the sufferings are not divinely made but humanly made. When we see extreme poverty or other sufferings it is important to ask the question about why those who are suffering are in the position they are in. When one sixth of the world is faced with serious food insecurity, the question of why this is the case must be asked. The distribution of the essentials of life is determined by human societal and economic structures. There are possibilities for improvement — more work by people is needed.

  2. Agree. It’s easy to say God’s focus is on the after life, but He wanted us to make heaven here on earth too. One of the best homilies I ever heard was about the rich man and Lazarus, after they had died. No where in the parable did it say the rich man, who was now in eternal torment, was a bad man, that he had done anything bad. It simply implied that he hadn’t done anything good. Lazarus sure could have used his help when they were both alive on earth.


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