St. Ignatius of Loyola is really one of the most influential saints of the last 500 years. He was the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, who have exercised so much leadership and done so much good for the Church. Pope Francis is a Jesuit!
Within the order, the personality of Ignatius himself has been profoundly formative. His great motto, Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, for the greater glory of God, derived from the text of 1 Corinthians, has been their guide. His profound mystical vision and understanding and his great capacity for friendship have made him a holy, inspirational and practical leader.
On the other hand, though, some may have heard of his beginnings that was far from edifying! When a battle wound to his leg left him incapacitated for months, the Lord turned his life around. What happened then became the real source of his greatest gift for the Church: a profound understanding about how we cooperate with God through discernment.
Discernment: paying attention to know what comes from God and what doesn’t come from God – and then making your decisions following what comes from God. As the Lord says, Hearing the Word of God and putting it into practice.
The basic insight is simple and very important – though in practice it’s challenging to really be attentive.
He started seeing that when he accepted and did the things that brought peace, joy, light and clarity – God’s way – he found happiness and peace. When he went back to his old ways, following confusion, anger, impatience, depression or some momentary fleeting pleasure - things not of God - he found unhappiness and inner confusion.
This is a wisdom that is very important for us now. Listening for the voice of the Lord, trying to follow God’s will for us - in simple everyday things, in our homes and in our families - will bring us peace.
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About Father Jim Phalan, C.S.C.
Father James Phalan, C.S.C., is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary as part of the Family Rosary team. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!