It is good to begin at the end. Ignatius of Loyola gave up everything for the greater glory of God and everything he saw then, he saw it in the eyes of God. This is the end for St. Ignatius of Loyola in which he was created. It is good to begin at the end for it will tell us how to proceed with our lives, with our way of proceedings. It gives us vision…a direction to where we are heading.
If our end is just to make money and be rich, our actions and decisions will be geared towards the end we have in mind. Fr. Jett Villarin framed it well when he mentioned this in one of the commencement exercises in Ateneo de Manila University: “ St. Ignatius liked to frame the management or government or running of your life with the end always in view. He would have us contemplate, for instance, our own funeral and have us imagine what people are saying about us. In another exercise, he would have us imagine ourselves standing before the entire heavenly court. You see, for Loyola, it was important to always have before this thing called destiny. And he was convinced that the end and very purpose of our life is to live with God forever.” That very end of St. Ignatius of Loyola guided the way he founded and how led the Society of Jesus.
But who is St. Ignatius of Loyola? I read an article before and the way the author discussed the personality in the article is through his weaknesses…by trying to destroy him but at the end, he saw the real person, his humanity and his goodness. So let me recreate it this way. There was this convention of all evil in the world let by Satan. In that convention they discussed on how to destroy St. Ignatius of Loyola by pointing out his weaknesses and frailties. The usual style of Satan is to attack through one ’s weakness to let one defenseless and helpless.
One evil raised his hand and mentioned that this Ignatius of Loyola is vain, with unquenchable hunger for power and would love to dream about worldly thing. He even dreamed of joining the court of Navarre and eventually to be a knight to get the attention of the ladies in the court while having the other worldly possessions in mind. So Satan said, “Well, we’ll strike him on those weaknesses.” So they did. They were so happy when St. Ignatius joined the court and eventually succumbed to injury on his leg. Soon, they were perplexed when St. Ignatius after reading the two religious books available in the place where he was recuperating, changed his worldview and eventually his life.
“ His daydreaming about worldly matters finished and he noticed that daydreaming about the saints made him happy. He began to perceive different spirits moving within him, one from the devil and the other from God. In this way he came to realize that joy was a sign of God, and sadness a sign of the devil. From this seed grew his famous rules for the discernment of spirits.”
Next, another evil talked to the whole congregation and said that Ignatius of Loyola has another weakness…scruples. Scruples are an uneasy feeling arising from conscience or principle that tends to hinder action. An inordinate doubt as to what is morally right. That sense of daydreaming even led him in formulating the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitution of the Society of Jesus which gave vision and sense of directions for the Jesuits and lay partners around the world. Satan now intensified the scruples of St. Ignatius. Iggy started his inordinate fasting in the cave of Manresa to the extend that he couldn ’t work and play anymore. He tried to confess for his sins everyday until it brought him into deep depression and self-pity. But the whole congregation in the convention were surprised that Ignatius of Loyola was able to transcend his scruples. It brought him to a deeper sense of discernment. To always self-evaluate one ’s action and to evaluate the movement of the spirit. Ignatius is wiser this time. He knows that the devils were playing tricks on him.
He began to practice a procedure he invented called “The Discernment of Spirit.” Here he began to be conscious of his own dynamics like what gives him consolations and what gives him desolation. He realized that feelings like fears, depressions, and self-centeredness are from the devil especially when those feelings would bring him farther from God- a desolation. A consolation when feelings/actions that would lead him closer to God.
All these seven values/qualities are essentials but let me end with the 7 th quality. St. Ignatius gave marriage as an example to explain this quality. Most of the time we consider marriage as the end and serving God would come secondarily. Many people first choose to make a lot of money or to be successful, and only afterwards to be able to serve God by it. And so too in their striving for power, popularity, and so on. It is clear with St. Ignatius of Loyola his ends. It is only through constant self-reflection that we come face to face with out inordinate attachments. We can only find our center when let go of those attachments and it will be clearer to us the end in which we are created…that is to give praise, love and reverence to our Almighty.
It is good to begin at the end for it will tell ushow to proceed with our lives, with our wayof proceedings.
“St. Ignatius liked to frame themanagement or government or running ofyour life with the end always in view. And he was convinced that the end and very purpose of our life is to live with God forever.”
Values/Qualities in doing Ignatian Discernment1. Openness2. Generosity3. Courage4. Interior Freedom5. A habit of prayerful reflection6. Having one’s priorities straight7. Not confusion ends with means
St. Ignatius would always finished bytelling us that over all we must know ourweaknesses because when evil strikes usit will always attempt to manipulate ourweaknesses to its advantage.
For St. Ignatiusof Loyolaeverything canbe used for theapostolate evenhis weaknessesand frailties, forthe mission.