An Ignatian 'Spirituality of Study'

In the winter 2014 edition of Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits, in his article "Mind and Heart: Toward an Ignatian Spirituality of Study," Nicholas Austin, S.J., asks, "[I]s it possible to see study as a spiritual experience? Because of what Ignatius has taught us in the Rules for Discernment, it is relatively easy to notice, name, and talk about the experiences of consolation and desolation in prayer. At least, this is a skill which Ignatian people learn, with help from spiritual direction. Yet how can one name one’s experiences of consolation and desolation in study?"

To address this question, Austin turns to a writer recently addressed at this blog: Simon Weil. Austin writes:

Advertisement

It helps to note here that the effort to cultivate our ability to be truly focused on a single field of attention, whether that be listening to a person intently, studying a difficult text, or even paying attention to God in prayer, is not merely a means to greater productivity or effectiveness, but is a “Spiritual Exercise” in the full meaning of that term. No one has expressed this insight more pertinently than Simone Weil in her classic essay, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God.” She begins with this striking statement: “The key to a Christian conception of studies is the realization that prayer consists of attention.” 

For more of Austin's insightful essay on an Ignatian spirituality of study, click here.  

 

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A reflection for the third Sunday of Advent
Elizabeth Kirkland CahillDecember 16, 2017
Homeless people are seen in Washington June 22. Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla., chair of the U.S. bishops' domestic policy committee, released a statement Nov. 17 proclaiming that the House of Representatives "ignored impacts to the poor and families" in passing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act the previous day. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
The United States is thwarting the advancement of millions of its citizens, a UN rapporteur says.
Kevin ClarkeDecember 16, 2017
Why not tax individuals for what they take out of society instead of what they contribute?
Paul D. McNelis, S.J.December 15, 2017
Pope Francis will renew the mandate of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for another three years, informed sources told America this week.
Gerard O’ConnellDecember 15, 2017