The Story of Saint Ignatius Loyola . . .

. . . as it’s never been told before. By a Spanish olive, really!:

h/t to Fr. Jim Martin

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Saint Ignatius on the Christian Vocation

As part of a project I’m working on, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading through Saint Ignatius’ letters.  I found this quote, from his letter to the Jesuits scholastics and fathers at Coimbra to be particularly inspiring.  He’s speaking specifically of a Jesuit vocation here, but I expect this would be relevant to anybody who has a strong sense of a vocation to service of Christ and the Church:

“To sum up my meaning in a few words: If you thought carefully about how deeply you are bound to defend the honor of Jesus Christ and the salvation of your neighbor, you would see how much you are obliged to dispose yourselves for every toil and labor to make yourself apt instruments of God’s grace for this purpose, particularly nowadays, when there are so few real laborers, so few persons who seek ‘not the things that are their own but the things that are Jesus Christ’s [Phil. 2:21]; you need to strive all the harder to make up for what others fail to do, since God is giving you such a special grace in this vocation and resolve.”

Saint Ignatius’ Advice For E-Mailers & Bloggers


Well, not exactly . . .

I’ve been reading Saint Ignatius’ letters for a project I’m working on, and it struck me today that his guidelines for Jesuits writing letters back and forth–and making distinctions between what should be public and what private–are well applicable to electronic correspondence today. Once again, Ignatius seems a bit ahead of his time. He writes (to Pierre Favre, a.k.a. Peter Faber):

“I will describe what I myself do and, I trust in the Lord, will continue doing in this regard so as to avoid mistakes when writing to members of the Society [of Jesus]. I make a first draft of the main letter, reporting things that will be edifying; then, after reading it over and correcting it, keeping in mind that it is going to be read by everybody, I write or have someone write it out a second time. For we must give even more thought to what we write than to what we say. Writing is permanent and gives lasting witness; we cannot mend or reinterpret it as easily as we can our speech. And even with all this I am sure I make many mistakes, and fear doing so in the future. I leave for the separate pages other details that are inappropriate for the main letter or lacking in edification. These pages each one can write hastily ‘out of the overflow of the heart,’ with or without careful organization. But this may not be tolerated in the main letter: it must be composed carefully and edifyingly, so that it can be shown around and give edification.”

Saint Ignatius was the most prolific letter writer of his time. So, he knew a thing or two about writing letters. And his advice is well-taken for those of us too whose writing “gives permanent and lasting witness.”