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Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life - A Practical Guide to Prayer for Active People

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Five Pillars of the Spiritual Life

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Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, espoused the ideal of becoming “contemplatives in action.” He was convinced that contemplation (the deep awareness and appropriation of the unconditional love of God) should affect our actions, and that our actions need to be brought back to contemplation.

These five dimensions of the spiritual life: (1) the Holy Eucharist, (2) spontaneous prayer, (3) the Beatitudes, (4) partnership with the Holy Spirit, and (5) the contemplative life itself, generally do not develop simultaneously or even in parallel ways. Some develop very quickly, but do not achieve significant depth; while others develop quite slowly, but seem to be almost unending in the depth of wisdom, trust, hope, virtue, and love they engender. The best way of explaining this is to look at each of the pillars individually.

Before doing this, however, it is indispensable for each of us to acknowledge (at least intellectually) the fundamental basis for Christian contemplation, namely, the unconditional Love of God. Jesus taught us to address God as Abba If God really is Abba; if His love is like the father of the prodigal son; if Jesus’ passion and Eucharist are confirmations of that unconditional Love; if God really did so love the world that He sent His only begotten Son into the world not to condemn us, but to save us and bring us to eternal life (Jn 3:16-19); if nothing really can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rm 8:31-39); and if God really has prepared us “to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all understanding, so that we may attain to the fullness of God Himself” (Eph 3:18-20), then God’s love is unconditional, and it is, therefore, the foundation for unconditional trust and unconditional hope. There can be nothing more important than contemplating, affirming, appropriating, and living in this Unconditional Love. This is the purpose of contemplation; indeed, the purpose of the spiritual life itself.



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9781586172015
235
More Ignatius Press Gifts (About Ignatius Press)
2008


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St. Ignatius Loyola

St. Ignatius Loyola Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 07/31
Tridentine Calendar - 07/31


Patron Of: Jesuits, Retreats

Profile
    Spanish nobility. Youngest of twelve children. Page in the Spanish court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Military education. Soldier, entering the army in 1517, and serving in several campaigns. Wounded in the leg by a cannonball at the siege of Pampeluna on 20 May 1521, an injury that left him partially crippled for life. During his recuperation the only books he had access to were The Golden Legend, a collection of lives of the saints, and the Life of Christ by Ludolph the Carthusian. These books, and the time spent in contemplation, changed him.

    On his recovery he took a vow of chastity, hung his sword before the altar of the Virgin of Montserrat, and donned a pilgrim's robes. Lived in a cave from 1522 to 1523, contemplating the way to live a Christian life. Pilgrim to Rome and the Holy Land in 1523, where he worked to convert Muslims. In 1528 he began studying theology in Barcelona, Alcala, and Paris, receiving his degree on 14 March 1534. His meditations, prayers, visions and insights led to forming the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus on 15 August 1534; it received papal approval in 1541. Friend of James Lainez, Alonso Salmerón, Nicholas Bobadilla, Simón Rodriguez, Blessed Peter Faber, and Saint Francis Xavier, the group that formed the core of the new Society. He never used the term Jesuit, which was coined as an insult by his opponents; the Society today uses the term with pride. He traveled Europe and the Holy Lands, then settled in Rome to direct the Jesuits. His health suffered in later years, and he was nearly blind at death.

    The Jesuits today have over 500 universities and colleges, 30,000 members, and teach over 200,000 students each year.

Born
    1491 at Loyola, Guipuzcoa, Spain as Inigo Lopez de Loyola

Died
    of fever on 31 July 1556 at Rome, Italy

Beatified
    27 July 1609 by Pope Paul V

Canonized
    12 March 1622 by Pope Gregory XV


All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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