In May of 1521, at the age of 30, he defended the fortress of Pamplona against the French, who claimed the territory as their own against Spain.
The Spaniards were completely outnumbered and the commander of the Spanish forces wanted to surrender, but Ignatius convinced him to fight on for the honor of Spain, if not for victory.
During the battle a cannon ball struck Ignatius, wounding one leg and breaking the other. Wounded and defeated, Igñigo was carried back to the castle of Loyola by the French soldiers because they admired his courage.
His leg was set but did not heal, so it was necessary to rebreak and set it again, all without anesthesia. Igñigo’s health diminished and was finally told by the doctors that he should prepare for death.
Finally his leg healed, but when it did the bone protruded below the knee and one leg was shorter than the other.
This was unacceptable to Igñigo, who considered it a fate worse than death not to be able to wear the long, tight-fitting boots and hose of the courtier.
Therefore, he ordered the doctors to saw off the offending knob of bone and lengthen the leg by systematic stretching.
Again, all of this was done without anesthesia. Unfortunately, this was not a successful procedure.
All his life he walked with a limp because one leg was shorter than the other.
The first discernments and conversion of St. Ignatius
Bed-ridden and bored, Ignatius began to read a copy of the life of Christ and a book on the saints. The more he read, the more he considered the exploits of the saints worth imitating.
At the same time he continued to have daydreams of fame and glory, along with fantasies of winning the love of a certain noble lady of the court.
He noticed that after reading and thinking of the saints and Christ he was at peace and satisfied. Yet when he finished his long daydreams of his noble lady, he would feel restless and unsatisfied.
Not only was this experience the beginning of his conversion, it was also the beginning of spiritual discernment, or discernment of spirits, which is associated with Ignatius and described in his Spiritual Exercises .
The Exercises recognize that not only the intellect but also the emotions and feelings can help us to come to a knowledge of the action of the Spirit in our lives.
Eventually, CONVERTED from his old desires and plans of romance and worldly conquests, and RECOVERED from his wounds enough to travel, he left the castle to test his zeal to serve Christ.
Ignatius was so incensed at this assault upon the honor of Our Lady that he wanted defend the Blessed Virgin Mary by killing the Moor.
As they came to a fork in the road Ignatius decided to let his mule decide if he would kill the Moor or not. Ignatius let the reins of his mule drop. If his mule followed the Moor, he would kill him. If the mule took the other fork he would let the Moor live.
Fortunately for the Moor, Ignatius' mule was more charitable than its rider and took the opposite fork from the Moor.
He spent hours each day in prayer and working in a hospice. It was here that the ideas of the Spiritual Exercises began to take shape.
It was on the banks of the Cardoner River that he had a vision/enlightenment that was the most significant in his life.
Ignatius said he learned more in that one occasion than he did in the rest of his life. Ignatius had an encounter with God as God really is, so that all of creation was seen in a new light and acquired a new meaning and relevance.
This experience enabled Ignatius to find God in all things. This grace, finding God in all things, is one of the central characteristics of Jesuit spirituality.
It was also during this period at Manresa, still lacking in true wisdom concerning holiness, that he undertook many extreme penances, trying to outdo those he had read of in the lives of the saints. It is possible that some of these penances, especially his fasting, ruined his stomach, which troubled him the rest of his life. He had not yet learned moderation and true spirituality.
At the University of Paris Ignatius began school again, studying Latin grammar and literature, philosophy, and theology so that he could become a priest.
The paranoid Spanish Inquisition had thrown him in jail several times for preaching and helping souls because he did not have an education in philosophy and theology.
It was in Paris that he shared a room with Francis Xavier and Peter Faber.
He greatly influenced these men and a few of their friends by directing them for thirty days in the Spiritual Exercises .
Eventually six of them plus Ignatius took vows of chastity and poverty. They went to Rome and placed themselves at the disposal of the Pope for whatever he would want them to do.
WAITING IN ROME:
They did not think of forming a religious order, but intended to remain as individual priests. For a year they waited to go to Jerusalem, however no ship was able to take them to the Holy Land because of the conflict between the Christians and Muslims.
While waiting they spent some time working in hospitals and teaching catechism in various cities of northern Italy.
It was during this time that Ignatius was ordained a priest.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are a month-long program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices that help one’s Catholic faith become more fully alive in the everyday life of contemporary people.
These Exercises are usually made in one of three different ways:
1. Extended over 30-40 days, IN SILENCE , at a retreat house away from home
Custody of the eyes, no TV, music, reading, newspaper/magazines/books, phone calls, letters
2. Condensed into several eight-day retreats based on Ignatian themes
3. In the midst of daily life, while living at home, over a period of several months.
WEEK 3 : contemplating Jesus' last days, his arrest and interrogation, whipping, public mockery, passion, crucifixion and death.
WEEK 4 : and finally, of Jesus’ Resurrection, his Ascension, and the pouring-forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and Christ’s continued life in the world through the Spirit today and in the Messianic People called and missioned to his cause.
Usually retreatants meet regularly in private with a spiritual director to discuss their experiences of prayer and reflection, and to receive guidance in praying with the Exercises, in thinking about what they are doing, and in the interpretation of what is happening to them.
“ The human person is created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by doing so, to save his or her soul.
All other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.
It follows from this that one must use other created things, in so far as they help towards one's end, and free oneself from them, in so far as they are obstacles to one's end.
To do this, we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no other prohibition.
Thus, as far as we are concerned, we should not want health more than illness, wealth more than poverty, fame more than disgrace, a long life more than a short one, and similarly for all the rest, but we should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.”
The P&F expresses and explains humanity’s purpose for life.
There is a mission and goal.
Indifference is NOT apathy. It is freedom to do whatever one must, even at the expense to one’s comfort, to fulfill the mission.
The Two Standards: The Standard of the World as opposed to the Standard of Christ
Is a contemplation of the action of Lucifer and Christ in the world.
Standard of Lucifer:
Is to tempt us with RICHES -- as he is accustomed to do in most cases -- that people may more easily come to VAIN HONOR of the world, and then to vast PRIDE . So that the first step shall be that of riches; the second, that of honor; the third, that of pride; and from these three steps a person draws on to all the other vices.
Gathers peoples of all nations in a beautiful and attractive place and sends them through all the world spreading His sacred doctrine.
Three steps against Lucifer: the first is poverty against riches; the second is contempt against worldly honor, and the third is humility against pride. These three steps lead to all the other virtues .
Contemplate the gifts you have received from God (your creation, redemption, the beauty of creation). God has deep affection for you, as we can deduce from the gifts given to us. What am I going to give in return to God?
2. God is present in all the creatures and conserving their existence:
God dwells in all of creation, giving it existence, life and for us intelligence. God dwells in YOU, making you God’s temple. How do you express your gratitude to God?
“ Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, whatsoever I have and hold you have given me. I give it all back to you and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace and that is enough for me.”
1. Thunderbolt (St. Paul) – traumatic and tumultuous but clear.
2. Pulled in two different directions (examples above) – in prayer you get consolation (the sense of peace) about one of the choices. You should trust that this consolation is from God and you should trust the consolation.
3. Pulled in two different directions – no clear sense of consolation:
write all pros and cons and see which fits b/c it seems more reasonable.
Then ask God to bless your choice that God may guide you toward the right choice if your choice is the wrong one.
Imagine what advice you would give a friend or imagine how you will feel before God on Judgment Day