As promised, we will begin to look at the Ignatian Spirituality; or we could call it, the way St. Ignatius taught his brother Jesuits to pray. Some background here is important. St. Ignatius was born at the time of the Protestant revolt within the Church. Being a Spaniard, he only heard about these problems since Spain was monolithically Catholic. Like nearly all young noblemen of his time, he began a military career. His career was spent in the service of the Duke of Najera who was a loyal subject to the Spanish King who at that time was Charles V, who was simultaneously the Holy Roman Emperor (ruler of Germany, Austria and the Low Countries). France was their big rival in Europe at this time. Ignatius was badly wounded by a canon ball hitting his leg while defending the city of Pamplona from the French in 1521. He returned to the Castle of Loyola to convalesce from his wound. The leg had to be re-broken and reset at least twice and there were no anesthetics. This leg remained shorter than the other and he had a marked limp the rest of his life.
While recovering and trying to learn to walk again, the only books he had to read were a Bible and a book of the lives of the saints. (The printing press was still in its infancy). Out of sheer boredom he began to read them and pray for God’s guidance in his life. He noted a change in his attitudes and desires and began to write down the things he prayed for and how he prayed and what he received from God in the way of enlightenment and grace. He later organized these notes into what we now call, “The Spiritual Exercises”. (to be continued)