Finding God in All Things: The Ignatian Year has begun. To find out more about events celebrating this remarkable saint and founder of the Society of Jesus. In the context of the Ignatian Year, a thoughtful reflection on St. Ignatius and his spiritual life journey. Was St. Ignatius a spiritual man? A saintly or holy man? A deeply God-fearing, prayerful man? Certainly not at least for the first 26 years of his life….
We celebrate a very strange event: the wounding of the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola at a battle in Pamplona in 1521. That event changed the course of his life; it led to the foundation of the Society of Jesus which in turn provoked dramatic changes in the Church and in the history of Catholicism.
On 20 May 1521, The Basque soldier Ignatius of Loyola was defending the city of Pamplona (Spain) against French troops. He gets hit by a cannonball. His legs are shattered. He barely survives and has to spend months recovering. His previous dreams of worldly success and fame are also shattered. He will walk with a limp for the rest of his life.
During his recovery, Ignatius has nothing to do. He is given a book on the life of Christ and a collection of lives of the Saints to read. He does so reluctantly at the beginning, but then gets inspired and wants to imitate the saints. He radically changes his life, centring it on Christ. He leaves for a long pilgrimage in Europe and the Holy Land.
The International Superior-General of the Jesuits, Fr.Arturo Sosa says:
It is good to remind ourselves that the wound Ignatius suffered in Pamplona was not so much a happy ending, but rather a happy beginning. Conversion consists sometimes of great moments of change, but it is also a never-ending process. We need to put Christ in the centre every time, again and again. This process is a pilgrimage along winding roads, up and down, sometimes having to retrace our steps, sometimes feeling lost. But meeting people along the road who indicate the way and reach out their hands to us.
We want to set out on the road, letting ourselves be guided gently by the Holy Spirit, centring our lives ever more on Christ and allowing ourselves to see all things new in Christ.
About Ignatius, Pope Francis said to the Society of Jesus:
All through his life he converted, […] he put Christ in the centre. And he did so through discernment. Discernment is not about always getting it right from the start, but it’s rather about navigating, about having a compass to be able to set out on the road which has many twists and turns, but always letting oneself be guided by the Holy Spirit who leads us to an encounter with the Lord.
On his long pilgrimage of conversion, St. Ignatius found true freedom.
The cannonball moment of St. Ignatius happened 500 years ago, but we all can live a moment of change, conversion, transformation. Listen to people like you telling their story here.
Learn more about the story of St. Ignatius here.
More information about the 500 years anniversary of St Ignatius is found here
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