Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Happy Ignatius Day!

Most of this post is from last year:
Today is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola  in the Roman Catholic Church.  And anyone who reads this blog knows that Ignatian spirituality has had a huge impact on me, so it's a pleasure to honor his day, which just happens to come two days after my birthday.

I often wish that we followed a similar practice of celebration in the Protestant Church.  Having attended many Catholic masses in my time, I've heard lots of stories about saints, stories which connect the people of today's church with those of their tradition and history.  

In the Methodist church to which I belonged for a long time, we heard at least a couple of sermons each year about John Wesley.  So I do know about his heart being strangely warmed, and I know a bit about his mother, Susannah Wesley, and his brother Charles Wesley, famous in his own right as a hymn writer. When I went to the boarding school founded by evangelist D.L. Moody, we were all well versed in his life and thought.

But on the whole, we Protestants don't spend a lot of time dwelling upon our forefathers and foremothers in the faith.
In seminary a few years ago, I spent a term doing an independent study on Ignatius of Loyola and John Calvin.  They lived during the same half-century and were even students in Paris at the same time.  When I asked on one of my professors for some assistance in researching Calvin, I mentioned that he seems to have written little about his personal life.  "Of course not!" said professor replied indignantly.  "One who preaches the Word of God should not be focused upon himself!" (What does that say about we who blog, I wonder?)

In reality, Ignatius might have agreed with that professor. I know that Ignatius was reluctant to provide information to the chronicler of his Autobiography ~ but I, for one, am grateful that he was persuaded to do so.  While others have commented upon his apparent stern taskmaster rigidity, I always think of him as an affectionate older brother.  Knowing the story of his life makes his work infinitely more accessible and inspiring in light of the twists and turns of our own.

Today's header comes courtesy of Fran of There Will Be Bread.


  1. In the Episcopal Churches I have served we have a week day Eucharist and I always celebrate a saint at these Eucharists - today we celebrated St. Ignatius! Many times the saints offered to us from the book, Holy Women Holy Men are ordinary -extra ordinary women like Evelyn Underhill - and its delightful to share the lives of these women with the small group of elderly women who attend the weekday service. And sometimes I transfer the Saint to a Sunday, although that is rare - more likely I make reference to a particular Saint in a funeral homily - comparing some of the similarities between the Saint and the saint whose life we are celebrating that day....anyway, as a Protestant Church the Episcopal Church has the option to celebrate the Saints, which I too really appreciate.

  2. This made me dip back into Ignatius' 'autobiography. At the beginning Gonzalez de Camara writes about sharing with Ignatius "some particulars of my soul" particularly vainglory. "The Father suggested as remedy the frequent referring of all things to God, making a serious effort to offer all the good there was in me, recognizing it as belonging to him and giving him thanks for it." He then tells Camara "how he struggled against the vice for two years." One of the things I love about St Ignatius is how so much comes out of his own experience of failures and God gently dealing with all the things in him that stop his responding freely to God's love. It gives me hope!

    1. Julianne, I hope you're reading Just Call Me Lopez!

    2. Just started and I am enjoying it!