Saturday, October 3, 2015


Ignatian Spirituality in architecture at St. Joseph Church, Macon:

I just read that Archbishop Wilton Gregory has named a Jesuit priest from Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Georgetown (Washington, DC) to be the new pastor of Saint Thomas Moore Church in Atlanta. This will be the first Georgia parish to have a Jesuit pastor since the early 1960's!

My parish of Saint Joseph, built by the Jesuits and truly a stunning jewel of the south because of them and their liturgical spirituality based in Ignatian Spirituality was staffed by the Jesuits until the late 1950's. Sacred Heart Church in Augusta, now sadly closed and a secular cultural center today, has the same Jesuit architectural elements as St. Joseph's and was staffed by the Jesuits until the early 1960's. 

The new Jesuit pastor states his goal is to make sure the celebration of the Mass is done in a careful and dignified manner and that he brings Ignatian spirituality to his new parish. 

When you read what Ignatian spirituality is, you see in it what Pope Francis is doing and the theology that is the foundation of his papal magisterium:

Ignatian Spirituality

Key Characteristic Qualities of

1. “Finding God in all things” — Discovering and responding to the presence and action of God in the circumstances of everyday life… however complex or even filled with pain and suffering they may be. Each person’s experience is a place for discovering God; it is the day-by-day setting in which we can listen to the voice of the Spirit and in which, as a result, conversion and growth can take place. This also points to the hidden but discoverable presence of God even in the most secularized and godless situations

2. Contemplatives in Action — It is NOT a clerical or monastic spirituality, and one does not have to be a cleric or a religious, let alone a Jesuit, in order to live Ignatian spirituality. There is a definite emphasis on one’s prayer being both a grounding of and impetus towards service and action for justice in the world.

3. Ignatius’ approach has such flexibility and breadth of appeal because it goes beyond divisions (of culture, religion, age, politics, etc.) Ignatian spirituality offers a set of strategies and approaches for dealing with human life in all its complexity that are grounded in the gospel and situated in a particular historical context. But it does not view itself as the only valid set of strategies!!!

4. It addresses the human person in their fundamental relationships—with God, other people and the world. (this is the basis of Laudato Si)

5. It encourages and stimulates personal and affective attachment to the person of Jesus. Ignatius and his companions formed the Society of Jesus. Emphasis is on joining Christ in Mission and following Christ in the place where God wants us to be, and to be open to respond to God generously there. Deep and prayerful reflection on the gospels helps us get to know Jesus, and personal affective attachment to Jesus helps us to assimilate his values, to express them in our attitudes and in how we live and work and deal with people, and enflesh these in our world.

6. So, it allows our own path of discipleship to emerge from within our own unique history and the circumstances of our own lives, and with what we experience as our own most authentic truth.

7. In this way our “deepest desires” can be integrated: our desires for ourselves and those near to us; our aspirations and visions for the society and the world in which God has placed us, and our longing for God.

8. “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” Everything is directed towards bringing about the fullness of God…the ultimate Good, the Love of all Creation.

For those with wealth and power the essential attitude of Ignatius was to see these as gifts from God and to use them for the greater praise and service of God, and in the best interests of the people most in need. We must take care to use any power and influence that we possess, however humble and limited, for ‘God’s greater glory’ and the good of others, especially those most in need, rather than in self-interest, and for creating and sustaining structures that will serve the mission of Jesus.

9. “Discernment” lies at the heart of Ignatian spirituality. This particular way of Christian discipleship offers people the resources to make choices in every dimension of life which are in tune with the leading of the Spirit of God in the path of the gospel in and through daily circumstances. Importance of staying grounded in daily prayer and spiritual reading, and a community of shared faith and values in order to do this!

10. Service of faith and the promotion of Justice (GC 34)
In Ignatian spirituality the search and striving for social justice is viewed as a requirement of the Gospel, and assists in the struggle to sort through what this means at both theoretical and practical levels. It recognizes that inner life and action in the external world are interdependent; one is challenged to pay attention to the “signs of the times”, to study the issues that impact especially those who are oppressed, and to prayerfully reflect and discern one’s best response.

11. The “Magis” There continues to be a challenge in the integration of contemplation and action for the greatest good. So it is not simply, “what I do for God” but in a movement toward “what God wants to do through me”!!

12. “Inculturation” — Pedro Arrupe, the Superior General of the Jesuits in the late 1970’s, emphasized that “Christian life and message comes to life in a particular local cultural context through elements proper to that culture. ‘Inculturation’ becomes a principle that animates, directs and unifies a culture, transforming it and remaking it so as to bring about a ‘new creation’. There is much room for a critical evaluation of the contemporary ‘North Atlantic” account of Ignatian spirituality from the standpoint of African, Asian, Latin American and other cultural systems, preferably by scholars and practitioners who are indigenous to those cultures.

13. Ignatius agreed with Socrates that the “unexamined life is not worth living”. He developed a practice, called “the Examen”, through which we look back at what has been going on in our lives. In this spiritual exercise, we recognize and express gratitude for blessings and ways God has been present, as well as recognize the aspects of our life that have been most challenging or desolate. In trust, we place all that is in the deepest recesses of our hearts into God’s care and open our mind and heart to listen with for the “nudgings” and whisperings of God’s Spirit.

14. Ignatius wanted to help people find God’s will for them in the own deepest desires. He was convinced that anyone who was willing to take the time to be still, listen and pray could experience God in a direct and immediate way. His own mission, his life work, became that of helping people experience God’s presence, and learning God’s will. In other words, he was himself a “spiritual director”, who, over many years of listening and helping people to pray and discern, developed over about a twenty year period, what we call his “Spiritual Exercises”. These were like a handbook with detailed directions on how to help people look at their lives, pray, take note of what was going on, and make decisions. They were meant to speak to the whole person—not just the intellect, so that God’s presence might be savored through all of the senses and in every human life experience. Ignatius strongly insisted that the Exercises be adapted to the particular life circumstances and unique dispositions of the persons making them. The Spiritual Exercises began to be widely offered in the Northwest about 25 years ago, through what came to be called “SEEL” (standing for Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life. They are not just intended for Jesuits, but really for anyone who sincerely desires to ground their life and their desires in the truest source of life and love.

15.“Suscipe” means “self-gift” in Latin. Some would say that this prayer, which comes at the end of the Spiritual Exercises, might be considered a summary of Ignatian Spirituality. Some of you have likely heard all of the words of this prayer in the song “Take Lord, Receive” by Jesuit John Foley. A tremendously gifted Jesuit poet from Spokane, Mike Moynahan, prays the Suscipe with his own words, saying:
The goods that we offer
Are gifts from you:
Our lives with all their freedom,
our distracted minds,
our often weak wills,
and failing memories.
These are our gifts to you.
Hear our simple prayer:
When we are weak, be our strength;
when we doubt, be our faith;
when we’re discouraged, be our hope;
and when we’re lost, come and find us.
When we’re hungry, be our food,
when we’re thirsty, be our drink;
when we’re in darkness, be our light,
and when we’re sad,
be our comfort and joy.
Let us feel your touch in all we say and do.
Let us grow and blossom in your love.
Grant us this, Lord,
and there’s nothing more we want
until we see you face to face.
Take all we have and all we are;
give us your love and your grace,
with these we are full,
yes, we’re full.


DJR said...

Taken from an online article:

"Meanwhile, Holy Trinity, the historic Georgetown parish founded in 1787 and where President Kennedy and his family worshipped, and where Vice President Joe Biden and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi regularly attend, will be well-served by Father Horak's successor, Father Kevin Gillespie."

In other words, "Catholics" Biden and Pelosi attended this priest's parish. Were these public dissenters permitted to receive Holy Communion?

If so, both the priest and such "Catholics" were in blatant defiance of canon law and the discipline of the Church.

Unless one lives in Wonderland with Alice, it is difficult to understand how a priest can believe he is offering Mass properly when he rejects the teaching of the Church on who is eligible to receive Holy Communion.

Catholics in past ages used to stand against this blasphemy, and they opposed it in public.

MHT Dissenter said...

Heaven help the faithful at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Atlanta.

Anonymous said...

Isn't "Jesuit spirituality" some kind of oxymoron?

Anonymous said...

My mom's church in DC. (She lives across the river in Arlington, but that diocese is too conservative for her.) I have visited the parish before and "social justice" is a theme there. The sanctuary looks a bit austere---there is no back altar and two candles at front altar. But metro Atlanta traditionally has been more liberal than the rest of Georgia (Obama won it twice, even as the rest of the state voted mostly Republican in those races), so the new assignment probably won't cause much ruckus 85 miles to the northwest of Macon.