The Ignatian Reinvention

My colleagues and I began the new semester on Monday of this week with a day of retreat led by a Jesuit priest who offered three reflections on the spiritual life.

The first of his talks was on some of the lessons of the life of St. Ignatius. Noting that Ignatius had been kicked out of the Holy Land, ruining Ignatius's original plan, Fr. Walsh (our retreat leader) said that Ignatius "had to reinvent the idea of following Jesus."

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The comment stuck with me. How, today, can we or must we reinvent the idea of following Jesus? Sometimes, like Ignatius, our initial efforts at discipleship go awry. We are called to a new path. We might ask: Where, today, does that path lie? 

If Ignatius had not been kicked out of Jerusalem, he might not have formed the Jesuits. His dismissal set him on the path of pilgrimage and reinvention. The same holds true for us.  

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John Fitzgerald
3 years 4 months ago
Nicely said.
Matt Emerson
3 years 4 months ago

Thank you!

J Cosgrove
3 years 4 months ago
If Ignatius had not been kicked out of Jerusalem, he might not have formed the Jesuits.
Of course if you believe that God influences the world in various ways, then maybe this was part of a plan. On a couple of somewhat related notes: Peter Thiel talks about the future and how it will not necessarily resemble the past. From: http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntamny/2014/11/16/peter-thiel-writes-an-excellent-business-book-that-is-exceeded-by-the-economics-treatise-within/
Thiel himself might agree. Ever the education skeptic, he writes on the book’s second page that “The paradox of teaching entrepreneurship is that such a formula necessarily cannot exist; because every innovation is new and unique, no authority can prescribe in concrete terms how to be innovative.” Absolutely. As Thiel writes on the book’s very first page, “Every moment in business happens only once. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine.” Readers get the picture. Those who can’t decidedly cannot teach the “how” of innovation.Applying the above to the education-skeptic in Thiel, he writes further on that “For the privilege of being turned into conformists, students (or their families) pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in skyrocketing tuition that continues to outpace inflation. Why are we doing this to ourselves?” The obvious answer is not to learn how to succeed in business. Again, as Thiel notes, “Every moment in business happens only once.” College professors are teaching what’s already happened, yesterday’s news as it were, and are almost by definition not talking about the future. If they had a clue about what lay ahead, they logically wouldn’t be teaching in the first place.
Then there is a brand new course by the Teaching Company on exploration voyages. One of the lectures is on the Jesuits http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/history-s-greatest-voyages-of-exploration.html?ICMP=111655 Here is a description of the lecture
Founded in 1540, the order of the Jesuits used global cultural exploration as a means to proselytize to local cultures across the world, from India and China to the Americas. Examine their controversial method of inculturation, and place the Jesuit project in the context of a larger intellectual shift towards cultural relativism.

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