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Celebrate the Ignatian Year

The Cannonball Strike

During the Ignatian Year, we’re meditating on the moment in the life of St. Ignatius that caused him to slowly, painfully turn toward Christ. The moment in question? Being struck in the leg by a cannonball! Few of us—hopefully!—have had such a dramatic conversion moment. And yet, God works just the same, inviting us to enter more deeply into our vocation, that unique way in which we can best serve God, God’s people and all of creation.

Lessons from Ignatius

“And when he was in a fortress that the French were attacking, all were of the view that they should surrender in order to save their lives, for they saw clearly that they could not offer resistance. But he [Ignatius] gave so many reasons to the commander, that he actually persuaded him to resist, even though it was contrary to the opinion of all the officers, who nevertheless drew courage from his spirit and determination.”

Excerpt from A Pilgrim’s Testament, the autobiography of St. Ignatius of Loyola, edited by Bart Geger, SJ

Reflect on God's Word

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind. What is crookened cannot be made straight, and you cannot count what is not there. …For in much wisdom there is much sorrow; whoever increase knowledge increases grief.

Ecclesiastes 1: 14-15, 18

Put Yourself in the Story

Questions for Reflection

  • The battle was lost before it even began. Yet, Ignatius encouraged his companions to fight—and ultimately, to die—to satiate his own desire for glory and honor. What role do you believe this overinflated sense of self plays in Ignatius’ conversion?
  • As you reflect on your own cannonball moments, what role has your ego or sense of self played? Has it led to the harm of others or to yourself? In what ways has God been trying to break through to you?

What Next?

The cannonball strike was the first step of Ignatius’ life-long pilgrimage, a reorienting away from the things of the world toward the things of God.

Fr. Steve Kelly, SJ, embodies this way of life in his work as an anti-nuclear activist. Listen to his interview on AMDG: A Jesuit Podcast.