July 7, 2016 — Celebrate the life and spirituality of the founder of the Society of Jesus through 31 Days with St. Ignatius. The monthlong online event highlights Ignatian spirituality each day leading up to the feast of its namesake on July 31.
This marks the seventh year of Loyola Press’ popular program, and the 2016 theme focuses on encountering God through using the five senses, with Ignatian articles and videos offering daily inspiration. St. Ignatius founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits, in 1540. The spirituality that bears his name continues to be embraced by people of faith and seekers of all ages throughout the world; it insists that God is active, personal, and above all, present to us.
Readers can explore the 500-year-old tradition of the Ignatian way through posts at IgnatianSpirituality.com. Father James Martin, SJ, Father Mark Thibodeaux, SJ, Chris Lowney, Kerry Weber, Gary Jansen and many other authors have contributed reflections on the life and spirituality of St. Ignatius, with topics that include the Examen prayer, gratitude and finding God in all things.
On Day 1, Father David Fleming, SJ, gave a helpful introduction to Ignatian spirituality, explaining that it asks the question: What more does God want of me? “God calls. We respond. It is the fundamental dynamic of the spiritual life,” Fr. Fleming wrote. “Our response to God occurs now. We are not to be inhibited by our own weakness and failure. We are not to ponder our unworthiness. God is working in our lives now and we are to respond now.”
Father Kevin O’Brien, SJ, offered a video reflection on a key meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Two Standards. He explained that the “stark” choice is between Satan and Christ. “The banner of Satan, of Lucifer, of everything that is not God, is an invitation to riches, which leads to an obsession with honor and power, which leads to … putting ourselves in the center at the exclusion of everyone else in our lives, including God.
“But Christ offers a more gentle and attractive vision, one of invitation. We are asked to live with poverty, that we are not attached to riches. We are open to being faithful to God, no matter what that brings us. ... That finally leads up to a healthy kind of humility that says, ‘I’m not God, I have limits, but I also have great gifts. I want to offer those gifts to the world in service of great love to God and others.’ ”
Readers are invited to add their own thoughts in the comments to posts and are encouraged to use the hashtag #31DayswithIgnatius on social media, sharing the ways they’ve been touched by St. Ignatius and the spirituality that bears his name. [Source: Loyola Press]
Fr. O’Brien on the Two Standards: