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

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with The University of Notre Dame President Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., Rev. Edgar Chandler (far left), and Msgr. Robert J. Hagarty of Chicago (far right) at the Illinois Rally for Civil Rights in Chicago's Soldier Field, 1964. (The University of Notre Dame Archives)
Every individual, organization, institution and structure in the church must do something to counter the intensification of the racial divide in our country.
Edward K. BraxtonMay 24, 2018
An official wedding photo of Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, center, in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. Others in photo from left, back row, Jasper Dyer, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Doria Ragland, Prince William; center row, Brian Mulroney, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, Rylan Litt, John Mulroney; front row, Ivy Mulroney, Florence van Cutsem, Zalie Warren, Remi Litt. (Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP)
A poll found that 66 percent of the British public declared they were not interested in the Windsor wedding.
David StewartMay 23, 2018
God simply is a triad of love: a going out in love, a return in love and thus, ever more, love itself.
Terrance KleinMay 23, 2018
The leaders sent a letter to President Donald Trump, administration officials and members of Congress.