One quality that characterized the life above all others was his deep personal life for the person of Jesus Christ. Ignatius was so taken up with Christ that he was willing to do anything, go anywhere, and be anyone as long as he could imitate Christ. As a matter of fact, the first years of his conversion were spent only in imitating Christ in all his poverty and humility. For Ignatius, Jesus Christ was the way, which leads all people to life. This personal love for Christ was not merely theoretical in the life of Ignatius, but characterized his whole being. He showed this tangibly by naming the Society he founded, the Society of Jesus.
In the Spiritual Exercises which Ignatius wrote and which has since become a classic, the focal point in many Exercises is profound knowledge of Christ which leads to an unconditional love and consequently to following Christ on his way to the Cross. This knowledge is not ‘knowledge about’ but ‘knowledge of’ the person who Christ is. It has to do with the ability to sit at the feet of the Lord and ‘learn’ from him who is gentle and humble of heart. (Mt 11:28-30). It is this ‘knowledge of’ the Lord that so captivates us that we cannot but love the Lord with every fibre of our being. Since this love that we experience for the Lord is not merely an emotion, but reality, it leads us to go where the Lord wants us to go and so what the Lord wants us to do. We become like Ignatius instruments in the hands opf the Lord who uses us according to his will.
It is through this experience that we are able to say with Ignatius, “Take Lord receive..... Give us only your love and grace and we are rich indeed and need nothing more”.
As we celebrate the Feast of Ignatius let us ask for his intercession that we too might know, love and follow the Lord.
I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Very Happy Feast.