The Jesuit Style

From the Jesuit journal Choisir via Mirada Global:

The way the Society acts is based in the experience of its founder. During his conversion in Manresa, Ignatius went through a pedagogical experience. In his autobiographical narration, he describes it in the third person: “At the time God treated him the same way that a schoolteacher treats a child: He taught him.” Ignatius didn’t receive this teaching as a lecture falling from heaven, but through the concentration he put into everything he was living. From his own experience, Ignatius deduced a series of methodological and pedagogical principles that will be characteristic in the way he acted when trying to assist men and women to find their way, in other words, helping them to achieve freedom and be responsible for their own lives. A major event was particularly important to the newly converted Ignatius, an enlightenment that transformed him during a stroll along the banks of the Cardoner, a river that flows in the neighborhood of Manresa. “The eyes of insight started to open. He didn’t have a vision, but he understood and learnt several things, spiritual as well as others concerning faith and words, and with such a huge enlightenment that all these things seemed to be new.” 


Ignatius gathers the unit that links the ensemble of the mysteries of faith, the realities of the world and History in a kind of “synthetic vision.” His confident, Geronimo Nadal, writes: “the inner eyes of his insight opened with a light so intense and powerful, that he gained understanding and knowledge of the mysteries of faith and spiritual matters as well as those concerning science to such a point that it seemed to him that he sensed the truth of all things in a completely new manner and with a very clear understanding… as if he had witnessed the cause and the origin of all things.” Diego Laínez, another close companion, says that Ignatius “starts to see things with a new perspective.” What was new about this perspective? After understanding that God is the Creator of Nature and also the author of grace, from then on he will never be able to separate both matters. By putting spiritual and profane realities in the same movement, there is no longer a separation between the world below (that of men) and the world above (that of God), between sacred and profane, between the order of grace and that of nature. He will also establish as Principle and Basis of his proposition the fact that every reality, every situation, every encounter, every circumstance can be the place of the presence of God, an occasion to love and to serve. That is why he will always assign great importance not only to spiritual virtues but also to natural virtues and humane qualities.

Read the rest here. Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy

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david power
6 years 10 months ago

Thanks for posting this.It is always good to get a reminder of the spiritual outlook that formed the Jesuits. 
Fr Aschenbrenner wrote a great booklet on the Examen that also shows the "Jesuit style" in a very clear way.
The idea of repitition that plays such a big role in the S.E is best understood in the words of Ignatius that  it "is not an abundance of knowledge,  but the interior taste and feeling of things ,which  satisfies the desires of the soul".
The method of experience is more important today than ever before. 
Thomas Farrell
6 years 10 months ago
What you are characterizing here as the Jesuit style is aptly summed up in the expression ''finding God in all things.''

However, what you are characterizing here as the Jesuit style stands in stark contrast with Pope Benedict XVI's Manichaean worldview. In advocating his Manichaean worldview, Benedict urges Catholics to see themselves as engaged in a gigantic cultural war against secularism. In his worldview, Catholic religiosity is good, but secularism is not good. In this way, Benedict's worldview stands in stark contrast with the spirit of finding God in all things, including presumably secularist things.


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