Ignatius the Mystic
I only recently discovered a lovely little book, Frederick Bauerschmidt’s Why the Mystics Matter Now.
Its straightforward presentation of seven mystics of the Catholic tradition and its non-jargon writing style can conceal the depth of understanding and insight brought to the subject.
Concerning the “mystical,” Bauerschmidt writes:
The word contemplation is often associated with “seeing,” and one way of understanding the Christian mystical tradition is that it seeks a new way of seeing. This begins with discerning the mystery of God in scripture and sacraments, but it spills over into how we see everything. It involves seeing “through” the realities of this world to its most fundamental reality, which is that God holds it in existence. But it also involves seeing “through” our illusions about ourselves and others. It involves seeing ourselves and others in light of our most fundamental reality, which is that we are loved by God.
On this feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola here is some of what Bauerschmidt says about Ignatius the mystic:
At the heart of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises is a series of “contemplations,” in which the person doing the Exercises imagines a scene from the life of Jesus and imaginatively enters into it. The contemplation is preceded by a request for what it is one desires and followed by what Ignatius calls a “colloquy,” in which one speaks to Christ “in the way one friend speaks to another, or a servant to one in authority.” This combination of contemplation and colloquy is designed to bring the one doing the Exercises into a vibrant and intimate relationship with Jesus so that he becomes the ultimate standard by which one chooses a path.
Happy feast of Ignatius, especially to two young Boston College graduates who will be entering the Society of Jesus!