It is necessary to suppose that every good Christian is more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false. – St Ignatius of Loyola
Is there a work of art, or piece of writing, that means something different to you each time you come back to it? Its meaning is so rich that you feel as if it grows along with you, and it reveals exactly what you need to know in the moment.
I feel that way about the life and writings of St Ignatius, whose feast we celebrate today. I have been lucky to study and work in Jesuit institutions for many years, and have “gotten to know” St Ignatius, so to speak.
The quote above, from the Spiritual Exercises, is just the one I have needed for the last few months (and maybe even years). In a time of “hot takes”, quick retorts, and non-stop critique, doing my best to presuppose the best of people is refreshing. It may not change them, but it changes me. It’s what I need right now.
Blessed Feast of St Ignatius.
Some links to other pieces on St Ignatius:
- A talk I gave on Ignatian Spirituality for an Ignatian Identity Conference in Zambia: Surprised by Ignatius Part 1 and Part 2.
- Learning to Look, on being devoted to reality.
- Discernment and the Spark of Conviction, in which I discover that becoming a vegetarian at 15 may have been my first experience of Ignatian discernment.
- Practicing Salvation, from a time in my life when I was really glad to have exercised spiritually.
- A reflection on the First Principle and Foundation, which I wrote for a religion assignment when I was in high school, when I didn’t know a Jesuit from a hole in the ground, had never heard of St Ignatius, and had no idea that life would lead me into Ignatian Spirituality. Life is funny, huh?