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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Happy St. Ignatius Day :)



Friday is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Some may wonder why I so like Ignatius. It's because through him I was introduced to a God I had always thought too good to be true. To explain what I mean, I've posted an excerpt below from a book by David Fleming SJ - What Is Ignatian Spirituality?.

The excerpt begins with ex-soldier Ignatius at his family home, recovering from a serious wound. He has nothing to read but a book about the life of Jesus and one about the saints, and slowly he begins to have a spiritual conversion born of experience. What's interesting is that, of course, he was already a practicing Catholic but this conversion experience touched his heart in a new way and taught him something different about God .......

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Gradually, a new and inspiring image of God began to form in Ignatius's mind. He saw God as a God of Love. This was no abstract philosophical concept. God as Love was no longer just a scriptural statement. Ignatius experienced God as an intensely personal, active, generous God, a God as Love loving .....

God's love is unconditional. It is not something we earn, or buy, or bargain for. God does not say, "I will love you if you keep my commandments" or "I will love you if you go to Lourdes." Lying on his sickbed -- in pain, crippled, agitated -- Ignatius came to understand that active loving was God's most outstanding quality. This is his foundational image of God. He arrived at it by "noticing" how God dealt with him in his body, soul, and spirit, and through the people and events in his everyday life ......

This image of God affects how we understand the purpose of our lives. If we think that God loves us only if we act in a certain way, we will see our lives as a time of testing. We need to rise to the challenge, to avoid mistakes, to labor to do the right thing. But if God is Love loving, our life is a time of growing and maturing. "All the things in this world" are ways to become closer to God. Lovers don't test each other. Lovers don't constantly demand that the other measure up. Lovers give to those they love ......

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You can read Fr. Fleming's book, What Is Ignatian Spirituality?, free online, and you can learn more about Ignatius of Loyola at IgnatianSpirituality.com


2 Comments:

Blogger Liam said...

Happy St Iggy Day, Crystal!

By the way -- thanks for the b-day greetings. I was out of town when you left the comment.

7:14 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

And to you :)

11:01 AM  

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