Category Archives: Ignatian Spirituality

Pedro Arrupe documentary

The film, Pedro Arrupe: His Life and Legacy, was produced in 2008 by Georgetown University and features rare footage of Father Pedro Arrupe and interviews with his closest advisers.

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Father Arrupe was the 28th superior general of the Society of Jesus, from 1965-1983. Born in Bilbao, Spain in 1907, he studied medicine prior to entering the Jesuit order.  Before his service as superior general, he served as Japan’s first Jesuit provincial; but a defining moment in Arrupe’s life was his work caring for the victims of the Hiroshima’s atomic bomb. He died in Rome on February 5, 1991, after suffering the effects of a debilitating effects of a stroke on August 7, 1981 just as his airplane landed from an exhausting trip to the Far East. He was succeeded as Father General of the Society by Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach.

Father Arrupe’s writings are some of the best works on Ignatian spirituality there is. One memorable piece is his reflection on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Before Father Kolvenbach was elected general Father Arrupe’s prayer was read to the elected delegates of the 33rd General Congregation, marking his true identity of being totally free to do God’s will: “More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.”

This five-part documentary on Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, is now available online on the Jesuit Channel, which is sponsored by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

the Greater Glory of God is our measure

” . . . the glory of God is assumed fully, without limits and determinations . . . For us, the glory of God, being our end in all its breadth, is the measure of the quest for our own salvation and perfection,
as well as for that of others.”     ~Achille Gagliardi, S.J.

Leading the soul to God by the method of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

I came across this entry in an old encyclopedia. In its brevity a lot of truth is revealed: we can work (asceticism) by reason, and the heart, to union with God. Consider for a second what the author, Fr Drum, has to teach. Also, remember that Ignatian spirituality is not the same as Jesuit spirituality. The two are not the same by any stretch of the imagination. Fr Drum tells us that it is possible through prayer and good spiritual direction to know, love and serve God in this world so as to do the same in the next. Many people today don’t have the confidence that knowing and loving and serving God is possible at all. Some don’t know that God wants our happiness today –in this life–that there is meaning to our life that includes suffering and love (& joy) and some reject the notion that we are oriented toward a final goal. Christians call this goal heaven, the Beatific vision, communion with the Trinity, etc. What else is there for the Christian who really prays and lives his or her life with the Gospel and with reason? I get the sense that they don’t have the certainty that God knows us personally and intimately, never mind having a relationship with bodiless being.

I spent many years being formed by Ignatian Spirituality. My personal, cultural, ecclesial life (taken as a unity) is informed by what Saint Ignatius of Loyola proposed in his Spiritual Exercises. But I would not be telling the whole truth if I didn’t say that other influences have had a strong influence in how I look at my life and life’s work today. My life intersects with Monsignor Luigi Giussani, Chiara Lubich, Saint Josemaria Escriva, Saints Francis & Dominic and Saint Benedict and this school of the Lord’s service. The host of women saints and blesseds are too cumbersome to note here. The point, however, is not my interpretative lens except to say that I have benefited from the Spiritual Exercises and perhaps you might think the same if you gave the Exercises a chance. They are clearly an apostolic method in the spiritual life with an incredibly strong contemplative aspect. The Exercises are not for everyone, so be patient with them if you attempt to do an Ignatian retreat.

Ultimately, what the author of this entry names as the goal of the Christian life is my own, regardless of the influences: To live is Christ. It is entirely consistent with the motto of my coat of arms seen above: sequela Christi (to follow Christ). Ignatius (and the other spiritual masters noted above) could not conceive of life any differently. Would that be the same for all people!

The entry:

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The spirit of Saint Ignatius was Pauline, — intrepid yet tender; motivated by two great principles,–love of Jesus Christ and zeal for the salvation of souls. These two principles were brought together in his motto: A. M. D. G., “Omnia ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (All for the greater glory of God). It was this spirit, which breathed in “The Spiritual Exercises,” a method of asceticism, that is the very soul of the constitutions and activities of the Society of Jesus.

This little book is said to have converted more souls than it contains letters.

Certainly the results it has produced down the centuries cannot be exaggerated. The importance of its method is proved by the mere fact that 292 Jesuit writers have commented on the whole work. The purpose of the Exercises is definite and scientific upbuilding of the reason, will and emotions, by meditation and contemplation on the fundamental principles of the spiritual life and by other exercises of the soul. First, God is rated rightly as the soul’s end and object.

Reason is convinced that God is the end for which the soul is created, and all things else are only means to bring the soul to God; hence it follows that that is good which leads the soul Godward, and that is evil which leads the soul awayward from God.

The soul’s awaywardness from God results in sin; so sin is studied both in itself and in its consequences to the soul. Secondly, Jesus Christ is put in His place in the soul, by meditations on His ideals and contemplations on His private and public life.

The soul now aspires to the very height of enthusiastic and personal love to Him; and to the most self-sacrificing generosity in following the evangelical counsels.

Thirdly, the high resolves of the soul are confirmed by the imitation of Christ in His passion. Lastly, the soul rises to a sublime and unselfish joy, purely because of the glory of its risen Lord; and leaps with rapturous exultation into the realms of unselfish and perfect love of God, such as Saint Paul evinced when he cried out: “To me, to live is Christ; to die were gain” (Philippians 1, 21).

Fr Walter Drum, SJ
The Encyclopedia Americana, 1919

Direct Experience motivates change

When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change. Personal involvement with innocent suffering, with the injustice others suffer, is the catalyst for solidarity which then gives rise to intellectual inquiry and moral reflection.

Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Former Superior General of the Jesuits, 1983-2008

New Jesuit Review

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Today is the Feast of Saints Edmund Campion and Robert Southwell. It is also the launch date of a webzine venture called the New Jesuit Review — guys trying to do the right thing. So far, so good.

God bless them for their effort. Perhaps editors can attract other good Jesuits to write for them. Time will tell if they can maintain the momentum of publishing worthwhile literature, unlike some other notable Jesuit sponsored publications.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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