Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spirituality: Ignatius and the Presence of God

Ignatius's profound experience of the presence of God is exemplified in the following excerpts from one of his letters. Father Brandao had submitted a list of sixteen questions regarding the spiritual life and practices of men who were living in the Jesuit House of Study. Ignatius responded,

Considering the end of our studies, the scholastics can hardly give themselves to prolonged meditations. Over and above the spiritual exercises assigned for their perfection - namely, daily Mass, an hour for vocal prayer and examen of conscience, and weekly confession and Communion - they should practice the seeking of God's presence in all things, in their conversations, their walks, in all that they see, taste, hear, understand, in all their actions, since His Divine Majesty is truly in all things by His presence, power, and essence. This kind of meditation, which finds our Lord in all things, is easier than raising oneself to the consideration of divine truths which are more abstract and which demand something of an effort if we are to keep our attention on them. But this method is an excellent exercise to prepare us for great visitations of our Lord, even in prayers that are rather short. Besides this, the scholastics can frequently offer to God our Lord their studies and the efforts they demand, seeing that they have undertaken them for His love.

(Young, Letters, p. 240)