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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Placed with the Son: The Vision of Ignatius in the Chapel of La Storta

The life of Ignatius and the long line of Jesuits who have been faithful to their calling can be summarized into what happened to Ignatius during his prayer in the abandoned chapel of La Storta. Here he had a vision that puts to a halt everything that the Society has stood for beginning from the life of her founder up to the present age. Hugo Rahner, S.J. puts the details of the vision well. I quote,

His heart was wholly filled with the one desire: to obtain through the intercession of the most holy Mediators that grace for which he had prayed such long years: to be placed completely with Christ, to be received – he and his friends in the Lord – under the standard of the poor and suffering Jesus… The mystical grace was made manifest in a perceptible “transformation of his heart”… And in this state, he perceives interiorly how the Father has heard his prayer: the sentence the eternal Father speaks to him: “Ego ero vobis Romae propitious” is impressed on his heart.

This certainty that the Father has heard his prayer and granted it then develops like picture before Ignatius’ soul. He sees the Father and the cross-bearing Jesus, with whom he so longs to be placed. Again, the Father speaks: “I want you, my Son, to take this man as your servant.” And now Jesus manifests himself, and this manifestation is the “operation of the Father” – Jesus as Mediator and Revealer of the Father speaks only what the eternal Father has desired and granted: “I want you to serve us”… the little company of Jesus is placed forever with the cross bearer.

What abides in him as a lasting possession is only the powerful awareness: we have been placed with the Cross bearer, the Father is favorable; we are forever servants of Christ. Whether this will be revealed by a bloody death – Ignatius does not know. But he can go to Rome with supernatural joy and a transformed heart. What the Father has granted will surely be fulfilled: “to be placed with Christ.” The prayer of the meditation in the solitude of Manresa begins to become a reality. That was the vision of La Storta. [1]

1 Hugo Rahner, S.J., The Vision of St. Ignatius in the Chapel of La Storta, (Rome: Centrum Ignatianum, 1975), pp. 64-65.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Nature and gradual composition of the Book

Ignatian Spirituality has continually gained influence around the world for almost five centuries now. The wide range of ministries and apostolate that the Jesuits have like the putting up of universities and schools in every part of the world, doing missionary works across the seas, and involvement through various fields or professions for the development of communities (Jesuit scientists, Jesuit lawyers, medical doctors, artists, musicians, university professors, engineers, and the like).

Behind all these is a book—the little book of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This book has been the most influential and best known among Ignatius’ books. Through it, most of those who have become followers of his spirituality have been initiated into its chief principles and inspirational force. Among all his works, this small book contains the core and marrow of his spiritual outlook.

It can be noted in the life of the saint that he first made the Exercises before he wrote them. The writing of the notes sprang from his desire to share such a beautiful experience with others and in order to guide them through spiritual conversations. He enticed them to perform exercises of prayer (meditation and contemplation), confession, and other activities of a more intense spiritual life.

I would like to assert that the spiritual formation of every Jesuit depends largely on this little but powerful book. Every Jesuit makes the Exercises twice during his entire life as a Jesuit. The first one is when he is a novice and the second will come only after twelve to fifteen years when he reaches tertianship.

From Ignatius’ day until the present, virtually all Jesuit priests and brothers have carried on the apostolate of giving the Exercises in various forms and adaptations. Not only do they cater to fellow Jesuits but also to other members of religious orders, to lay people, to their students, and others who have the desire to encounter God. Thus, if you look back to your many experiences of retreats and recollections directed by Jesuit scholastics, priests and brothers, all those prayer points that they have been giving you were derived from the little book of the Spiritual Exercises.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


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