We complete the Ignatian year on July 31st, 2022. Beginning in May 2021, the Ignatian year marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of St. Ignatius’ enormous change of life — that fateful day when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim.
During his recovery from this injury, Ignatius discovered that his life as a soldier was full of vainglory, self-promotion and self-preoccupation. Through his reading of the Life of Christ on his sick-bed he grew in the knowledge of Jesus Christ and felt called to leave the passing things of life behind and become a companion of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, he founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus – better known to us as the Jesuits – whose spirituality emphasizes the presence of God in all of creation and points out the world in the theatre of encounter with God.
One may ask why this celebration? Celebrating 500 years of the conversion of St. Ignatius is not primarily about the past. It is about the present and the future. It is an opportunity for renewal and rediscovery of the Ignatian roots. It is an opportunity to stop, take stock of ourselves and our world and ask what direction our life and world is taking. It is about growing our relationship with, and putting Christ in the centre.
It is about continual and daily conversion. It is about walking with Jesus in our world today in its joys and sorrows. It is about living hopefully, amidst the pain of wars and divisions, amidst the anxieties of climate change and asking ‘what can I do to make the world a better place?’ Conscious that our planet needs healing Ignatian spirituality urges each and all to promote justice and reconciliation
Fr. General Arturo Sosa says:
It is good to remind ourselves that the wound Ignatius suffered in Pamplona was not so much a happy ending, but rather a happy beginning. Conversion consists sometimes of great moments of change, but it is also a never-ending process. We need to put Christ in the centre every time, again and again. This process is a pilgrimage along winding roads, up and down, sometimes having to retrace our steps, sometimes feeling lost. But meeting people along the road who indicate the way and reach out their hands to us.
This Ignatian Year is a pilgrimage of conversion. Pope Francis, in his recent book Let Us Dream, says a pilgrim is someone ‘who decentres and so can transcend. She goes out from herself, opens herself to a new horizon, and when she comes home she is no longer the same, and so her home won’t be the same. This is a time for pilgrimages.’
We want to set out on the road, letting ourselves be guided gently by the Holy Spirit, centering our lives ever more on Christ and allowing ourselves to see all things new in Christ.
This is how we can make a difference and make our world a better place to dwell in for all.
John Guiney SJ
You can join us to celebrate the life and spirit of St Ignatius of Loyola on Sunday 31st July at St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner St, at 11am. For details see: here
To learn more about the life of St Ignatius, visit: Jesuits global