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Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Sunday, September 09, 2012

More on Ignatian spirituality

I'm still slowly reading The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin SJ. Here's a bit from what I've just read that highlights what I especially like about Ignatian spirituality (pp. 51-54) .....

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[H]ow do I find God?

Here is where we can turn to an important insight of Ignatius [Loyola]: God can speak directly with people in astonishingly personal ways. This can lead even the doubtful and confused and lost to God. The key, the leap of faith required, is believing that these intimate experiences are ways God communicates with you.

In his Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius wrote that the Creator deals "immediately with the creature and the creature with the Creator." God communicates with us. Seekers, then, need to be aware of the variety of ways that God has of communicating with us, of making God's presence known.

In other words, the beginning of the path to finding God is awareness. Not simply awareness of the ways that you can find God, but an awareness that God desires to find you.

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God wants to communicate with us. Directly

This idea would get Ignatius in trouble with the Inquisition and land him in jail. (Ignatius had his own problems with "religion" at times.) Some critics suspected that Ignatius was trying to bypass the institutional church. If God could deal with humanity directly, they wondered, what need was there for the church?

As I've mentioned, religion enables people to encounter God in profound ways in their lives. But Ignatius recognized that God could not be confined within the walls of the church. God was larger than the church ....

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