A belated salute to St. Ignatius Day

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Their vivid colors and elaborate patterns distinguish particular threads. My 21 years of Ignatian formation at Ateneo de Iloilo have woven these threads into my life. Reflecting on this, I see how St. Ignatius of Loyola’s principles have profoundly influenced not only my life but also those of my daughters, Parvane Mae and Psyche Mae, and my niece, Chelsea Ann, who have been formed for 12, 15, and 10 years, respectively. Though this column is late in commemorating Ignatius Day, it serves as evidence of the lasting impact his teachings have had on many of us.

St. Ignatius, fondly called “St. Iggy” in contemporary times, was a visionary theologian. After being wounded in the Battle of Pamplona on May 20, 1521, he transitioned from soldier to spiritual leader and discovered a spiritual path that led him to establish the Society of Jesus. His journey shows that our most significant challenges often inspire profound transformation.

The Ignatian principle that resonates most with me is the call to “live a faith that does justice.” This teaching reminds us that our spirituality should go beyond personal piety to include the pursuit of social justice. It urges us to confront disparities and embody Christ’s love daily.

Another cornerstone of Ignatian spirituality is the Prayer for Generosity. The line “To give and not to count the cost” has moved me deeply. It encourages us to give our material goods and our time, effort, and affection. This kind of generosity transforms both the giver and the receiver.

In an era of disposable words, St. Ignatius declared, “love is shown more in deeds than in words.” This is especially relevant in the 21st Century. While professing love and compassion may seem easy, our actions are the litmus test of our character. We demonstrate our true selves by doing our best and standing up for what is right.

Discernment and introspection are also critical components of Ignatian spirituality. Reflective prayer aimed at understanding the Divine will, along with the daily examen (a reflective prayer reviewing the day’s events), helps us align with our personal, interpersonal, professional, and spiritual goals. It helps us appreciate our achievements and learn from our setbacks.

St. Ignatius also emphasized embracing and being open to change. While change is often met with resistance, it is an unavoidable part of life. Ignatian spirituality encourages us to see change not as a threat but as an opportunity for growth. This perspective allows us to move forward with optimism.

A profound lesson from St. Ignatius is the belief that “individuals are capable of changing, despite the difficulty of that transformation.” This serves as a reminder that redemption is always possible. It encourages us to believe in and support the potential for transformation in ourselves and others.

“Seek God in all things” is another core Ignatian principle. This holistic approach encourages us to seek the divine in every aspect of our lives, fostering a deeper understanding of connection and purpose.

Optimism about the future and living with gratitude are also valuable Ignatian lessons. Seeing everything as grace helps us focus on the positive aspects of our lives, giving us the resilience to face challenges with hope.

As this column belatedly observes St. Ignatius Day, we remember his extraordinary legacy. Saint Ignatius, a visionary and spiritual leader, recognized the importance of education and personal growth. His teachings have inspired millions, including my family and me, to strive for excellence in all we do.

Ignatian spirituality has influenced my niece, Chelsea Ann, and my daughters, Psyche Mae and Parvane Mae. They daily exemplify kindness, discerning judgment, and gratitude. By the grace of God, Parvane and Chelsea are considering further studies at Ateneo de Manila University, which shows the enduring appeal of Ignatian education. Psyche Mae, pursuing additional education-related studies, may also follow this path.

St. Ignatius’s life and teachings provide a purposeful and fulfilling guide for living. His emphasis on action, introspection, and change helps us navigate the complexities of contemporary life. As we progress, may we strive to embody Ignatian spirituality by approaching each day with generosity, gratitude, and a commitment to social justice. As he intended, may we continue to set the world on fire with our faith and deeds by embracing his teachings.

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