Updated: 8 hours ago
31 July 2020 / Saint Ignatius Loyola
Ave Maria Parish / Romanus Cessario, O.P.
The Spanish soldier Ignatius of Loyola (d. 1556) occupies a key place in the post–Reformation reforms that the Church initiated over the course of the sixteenth century. Not everyone, however, recognized his spiritual genius right away. The Dominicans, for example, put Ignatius in the prison of the Inquisition—a kind of house arrest—on account of his alleged association with some Enlightened Ones, especially women given to suspicious ecstatic exhibitions. After a while, Ignatius was let go.
Ignatius today holds a place of honor in the Church. His followers, the Jesuits, have distinguished themselves as missionaries, educators, and retreat masters. Florida hosts two Jesuit high schools, one in Tampa and the other in Miami. During the period of Spanish missionary activity in the State, Jesuit fathers operated in coordination with Spanish officials. Several of the Jesuits were killed by the Native Americans.
Probably Ignatius’s best known spiritual contribution is his Spiritual Exercises. The Jesuit takes the individual seriously. Ignatius aims to ensure that the person who follows his Exercises develops a thorough–going interior commitment to Christ. Overall, Jesuits embody a different outlook on spiritual things than that of the earlier monastic orders. What ensures continuity between them comes from the saint’s devotion to Mary, who appeared to him early on and whose shrine at Montserrat (Spain) afforded Ignatius a confirmation of his mission.