Celebrate the Ignatian Year
Before the Cannon Strike
This Ignatian Year marks the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola – 500 years since the cannonball struck the soldier, Iñigo Loyola, shattering his legs and confining him to a bed for months of recovery. If it hadn’t been for that painful, life-altering wound, Iñigo never would have encountered Christ and the saints, never would have read their stories during his recovery, never would have reevaluated his life and committed himself to God’s work, never would have penned the Spiritual Exercises or founded the Society of Jesus. That cannonball moment led Ignatius to see all things new in Christ – and the 500 years that followed have enabled us to do the same.
Lessons from Ignatius
Ignatius thought he knew how his life would go, the kind of person he would become. But the image he had of himself was an imperfect one; God saw so much more. It took a cannonball to the legs to shatter that imperfect image, to begin the work of discovering a more perfect image, the person God was inviting Ignatius to become.
Reflect on God's Word
For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12
Put Yourself in the Story
Questions for Reflection
- How do you see yourself? What images or titles do you hold up as your true self? Are those the images or titles you think are most important to God?
- How does God see you? How might God be inviting you to become a more perfect version of yourself?
St. Ignatius was a master of spiritual conversation. Through such conversation, he knew individuals could speak directly to God and hear God’s voice, already speaking back. Even today, spiritual direction is an important way to better come to know God at work in our lives. Have you ever considered meeting with a spiritual director?
The Office of Ignatian Spirituality – a work of the USA East Province of Jesuits – has a tool to help connect you with a spiritual director. Click to learn more.