Ignatian spirituality, born of St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, is lived in freedom, discernment, and engagement with the world
Christianity has diverse forms of living the values of the Gospel, inspired in the life of Jesus. Influenced by the charisma of different men and women, such as Saint Benedict, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Francis, Saint John of the Cross, or Saint Vincent de Paul, among others, Ignatian spirituality grew out of the experience of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.
Saint Ignatius left the world a rich spiritual experience, contained in the book of the Spiritual Exercises, which are the cornerstone of his experience of God and apostolic action.
The Spiritual Exercises offer an experience that seeks to bring people into contact with their own desires – which are often ambiguous or in conflict, making it necessary to learn the art of discernment – so that they can give themselves over to those that lead to the greatest fulfillment and service to others. In this sense, Ignatian spirituality is based on respect for freedom: people must come to understand things on their own and make their own decisions.
Another feature of the Spiritual Exercises is that they work through the pedagogy of desires. By appealing to the imagination, senses, reflection, and an emotional identification with the person of Jesus – the "internal knowledge" of him – the Exercises encourage people to give more: the Ignatian "magis."
Ignatian spirituality involves engagement with the world. It does not seek refuge in remote and silent places, but rather looks to "find God in all things." This position implies a double internal movement: on the one hand, moments of retirement to discern and pray; and on the other hand, enthusiastic action in the world, especially in favor of the poor and the suffering.
This explains why the Jesuits and their collaborators have been productive in so many fields of knowledge, science, social initiatives, the arts, and the wide variety of apostolates that they have undertaken throughout history.
There is virtually no field of life that is foreign to Ignatians.