What would my encounter be like with a man whose very life, core beliefs, and legacy are an enormous part of my life today?
What would I say if St. Ignatius came to visit me? Answering this question has moved me to tears as I rummaged backwards through my life thinking of all the ways St. Ignatius’s present day “soldiers” impacted my life by sharing with me the wisdom of Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises. What do I say to the man whose teachings allowed me to find inner freedom, whose Spiritual Exercises helped me completely re-situate my life around God, and whose belief that God can be found in all things allowed me to understand the invisible mysteries of God through visible people, experiences in nature, and in Scripture? My encounter with St. Ignatius would be enfolded in gratitude.
I can’t think of anything other than to say “thank you.” St. Ignatius, thank you for being a man of authentic, lived faith, who struggled as we do today to journey through change and unsettled times, and who radically changed your life to follow Christ. Thank you for being a man so solidly rooted in prayer that you were able not only to capture the Spiritual Exercises in writing, but you were also able to teach others how to give them. The fact that your Exercises are still being handed on generations later shows me the fruits of your deep prayer life.
The people who are part of your army of Ignatian teachers, mentors, and friends have impacted my life in ways that I cannot even begin to capture here. They shared your wisdom with me, they taught me your prayer methods, and they journeyed with me through your challenging and life-giving Exercises. St. Ignatius, because of you, I know who I am—a woman deeply loved by God, whose authenticity and integrity come from God, and who understands that God’s love calls me beyond myself.
Did you understand back then, St. Ignatius, that your personal struggles, your surrender to God, and your openness to be molded by God would continue to impact the world over 500 years later? While you may not have understood it then, your life and your work are very much part of my life—a young adult woman attempting to live a life of faith as a wife, as a mother of three, and as a person called to ministry.
Becky, what a wonderful reflection on what you would say to St. Ignatius if he were to come visit you.!! I really appreciated it, especially since I have a son, Mark Thubideaux, who became a Jesuit priest & I, myself, haviing been a spiritual director for quite some time using of course the wisdom of St Ignatius. It’s wonderful how you had us to look back & be grateful for this wonderful heritage given to us by Ignatius. I doubt he realized how far his sharing of his knowledge & experiences would extend. God bless you & the good works you do.
I have been a Catholic for some years but never have the chance
to read the Gospels or rather not bother except, attending Masses
In preparation as to what to do after my retirement ( I was a
practising Public Accountant) I went to a priest for advice
telling him that as long as it relates to Church work, I will
be interested. He introduced me to a Retreat without revealing
anymore details. So, there I was learning how to reflect on the
the Gospels through Ignatian Spirituality and Lectio Divina.
I have varied the method slightly so as use it for Prison Ministry
Counselling. But imgine if one day I am to open my door
and find dear St Ignatius standing there I just cannot
express what I am going to say to him The moment I recognise
him I will say a big thank you for introducing me to the Spirituality
which helped me so much in my Spiritual Counselling. My first
question with him by my side will be, am I adapting the correct
method without varying too far from the Ignatian method?
The Prison Ministry means a lot to me and with St Ignatius
guidance I am sure the Counselling Session will be a sucess
I would love to hear from other feedbacks.
It could change your life!
Becky, thanks for expressing my feelings so clearly. It is so interesting that you have written about this at this time because recently I have been asking Jesus if he would please tell St. Ignatius how grateful I am for the Spiritual Exercises and all the other wisdom that he has left us.
If St. Ignatius came to my house, I would only be able to say “thank you” midst my tears of gratitude for the transformation of my life.
Hello old friend. How nice to finally meet you!
What would I say? I’d get my notebook and tape recorder and hear what he has to say of course.
And (on a roll here), while I have not imagine Ignatius stopping by my house (although now I will!), I have often wondered what my own encounter with him might have been like had I run into him as a Protestant woman visiting Rome in the 16th century. An unlikely scenario, but not all that much more unlikely than the actual one that played out in my real life.
I love this post. I often think about how much of the Ignatian tradition is an oral one — how the Exercises have been passed down from one individual to another, beginning with Ignatius giving them to his friends, and them to others, and onward through the centuries, eventually reaching my spiritual director who gave them to me, and I now share them with others. I think it’s remarkably moving that such a profoundly life-altering experience happens in the context of quiet conversation between two individuals. And then I think about Jesus and Nicodemus, and Jesus and the Woman at the Well, and wonder why I am so surprised that Ignatius should have followed a similar model.
“My encounter with St. Ignatius would be enfolded in gratitude.” What a beautiful way to express what is also in my heart. Ignatius is one of the best examples of how God works through people, sending ripples that become waves through history.