From his mystical experiences, Ignatius of Loyola discovered that God can be found in all things, in all events, in every moment. Learning to listen to the movements of his heart, he was led to a profound faith in Jesus, and he invited others to journey along the path he trod. Generations later we call this path ‘Ignatian Spirituality’. It is a pilgrim’s path, a way that respects each person’s life journey, but profoundly challenges the pilgrim to hear, to decide and to journey onwards.
Following the example of St Ignatius, Ignatian spirituality centres on the imitation of Jesus, focusing on those priorities which constitute Christ’s mind, heart, values, priorities and loves. To learn what those values, priorities and loves are, Ignatius would encourage us to consider what Jesus said and did. At the foundation of Jesus’ life was prayer, a continuous search for how best to live as an authentic human being before a loving God.
Ignatian spirituality stresses the need to take time to reflect and to pray in order to find out how God wants us to serve him. This active commitment to seeking God’s will is called discernment.
Apart from the principles in the Jesuit Constitutions, the primary expression of Ignatian spirituality is St Ignatius’ book of The Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises are the basis of a variety of retreats and courses offered for clergy, religious and lay people.