What Is Ignatian Spirituality?

What Is Ignatian Spirituality?

by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.

What's your preference:
   Mac or PC?
   Coke or Pepsi?
   Dunkin' or Krispy Kreme?

It's nice to have options, isn't it? We do not live in a one-size-fits all world. Folks have different tastes and preferences when it comes to computers, cola drinks, and donuts, just to name a few.

Well, the same can be said for spirituality. When it comes to exploring and nurturing one's relationship with God, there are options available. One of the most popular options in Catholic spirituality is Ignatian spirituality. So, just what is Ignatian spirituality?

In his book, Christian Spirituality (Loyola Press), George Lane, S.J., defines spirituality as “a way to holiness.” Christian spirituality, of course, seeks holiness in and through Jesus Christ. Even within the Christian Tradition, there are numerous spiritual paths that come to us from the traditions of various religious communities such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Benedictines. One of the most popular and widely practiced spiritual paths in the Catholic Tradition is Ignatian Spirituality—a path articulated by Saint Ignatius of Loyola who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1540. St. Ignatius outlined this spirituality in his Spiritual Exercises, originally written as a handbook for a thirty-day retreat. With this in mind, let's take a closer look at the characteristics of Ignatian spirituality.

According to Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, S.J., Ignatian spirituality encourages us to…

  1. find (recognize) God in all things

  2. develop a personal relationship with Christ and love for the Church (bruised and broken as it often is)

  3. live a life of reflection (self-awareness/discernment) leading to gratitude and a life of service (becoming a man or woman for others)

  4. live a life of contemplation in action—not a monastic existence, but an active one that is, at the same time, infused with prayer

  5. live with an inner freedom (the result of self-awareness and discernment)

  6. translate our faith into working for justice—the realization that there can be no true expression of faith where concerns for justice and human dignity are lacking

  7. recognize, like Jesuit Gerard Manley Hopkins, that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God”—the positive, energetic and engaged vision of God's constant interaction with creation

  8. live according to the maxim “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (For the Greater Glory of God)—praising God and dedicating oneself to participate in God's healing work in the world

  9. be flexible and adaptable, following the example of the 16th century Jesuits who wore Chinese robes and generally adapted to various cultures; respecting people's lived experience

  10. seek the union of minds and hearts—as brothers and sisters, we listen for the God who is present among us, admitting no division based on ethnicity, nationality, background, age or gender

These principles and ideas are not unique to Ignatius. Rather, they flow from the Gospel of Jesus. However, Ignatius has gathered and synthesized them in such a way as to create a path to Jesus—a path that countless millions of Catholics have traveled over the past 450 years, a path called Ignatian spirituality.

Joe Paprocki, D.Min. 

Joe Paprocki, D.Min., has been a catechetical leader and religious educator in the Chicago area for more than thirty years.

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Books by Joe Paprocki, D.Min.

La caja de herramientas del catequista

Este libro es ideal para nuevos catequistas, La caja de herramientas del catequista te entrena mientras llevas a cabo tu ministerio como catequista. 

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Under the Influence of Jesus

The Transforming Experience of Encountering Christ

In Under the Influence of Jesus, Joe Paprocki explains that by opening ourselves to encountering Christ, we can learn how to live the Gospel and be models of faith.

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Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista

Catequesis que no solo informa, sino que también transforma

Más allá de la caja de herramientas del catequista le permite a los jóvenes encontrar a Jesús en la oración de manera que puedan convertirse en discípulos de Cristo para toda la vida.

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La mochila del catequista

Lo indispensable para el camino espiritual

La mochila del catequista brinda a los catequistas recursos que atienden a la dimensión espiritual de su llamado a compartir la fe católica.

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The Catechist's Toolbox

How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher

The Catechist’s Toolbox offers catechists tips, advice, and a methodical approach that will help them succeed as educators of the faith.

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A Well-Built Faith

A Catholic's Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe

In A Well-Built Faith, Joe Paprocki makes it easy for Catholics to feel confident in teaching the Catholic faith. He makes complex teachings of the Catholic faith accessible to average Catholics without compromising Catholic teaching and tradition.

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Beyond the Catechist's Toolbox

Catechesis That Not Only Informs but Also Transforms

Joe Paprocki, best-selling author of The Catechist’s Toolbox series, has written the first, step-by-step book that demonstrates how to teach a 75-minute catechetical session with practical techniques that expand upon the textbook to create a more prayerful climate in the classroom.

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Practice Makes Catholic

Moving from a Learned Faith to a Lived Faith

Why do Catholics do what they do? Practice Makes Catholic from Loyola Press gets to the heart of the question-and to the heart of what it really means to be Catholic.

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Una Fe Bien Construida

Guia catolica para conocer y compartir lo que creemos

Una fe bien construida,—desarrollado con enorme creatividad usando metafóricamente el tema de la construcción— facilita enormemente a los católicos el conocimiento de su fe y les da seguridad al momento de compartirla.

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Amos/Hosea/Micah: A Call to Justice

Six Weeks with the Bible: Catholic Perspectives

The prophets tell us what God thinks about oppression, injustice, and neglect of the poor.

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La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo

Bajo la influencia de Jesús

La experiencia transformadora de encontrarse con Cristo es la rotunda respuesta del reconocido autor Joe Paprocki a esa pregunta: ¡Sí, es posible!

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Vivir la misa

Cómo una hora a la semana puede cambiar tu vida

Explica detallademente cómo cada parte de la misa se relaciona con la llamada que recibimos en el bautismo, poniendo en estrecha relación la misa dominical y el resto de nuestra semana.

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Los planos de Biblia

Una guía católica para entender y acoger la Palabra de Dios

En Los planos de Biblia, el exitoso autor Joe Paprocki ayuda al católico de la calle a entender fácilmente la Biblia, y lo hace con humor.

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The Bible Blueprint

A Catholic's Guide to Understanding and Embracing God's Word

In The Bible Blueprint, best-selling author Joe Paprocki makes understanding the Bible not only easy for the person in the pew, but downright fun!

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7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness

Enriching Your Faith by Strengthening the Health of Your Soul

In 7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness, best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition.

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Living the Mass

How One Hour a Week Can Change Your Life

In Living the Mass, Joe Paprocki, DMin, and Fr. Dominic Grassi convincingly show how the one hour spent at Mass on Sunday can truly transform the other 167 hours of the week.

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A Church on the Move

52 Ways to Get Mission and Mercy in Motion

52 specific, practical, and achievable strategies to help Catholic parishes embody the broad themes of Pope Francis’ papacy—mission, mercy, and evangelization.

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The Catechist's Backpack

Spiritual Essentials for the Journey

Written by two nationally known, expert lay catechists, The Catechist’s Backpack gives catechists the resources that speak to the spiritual dimension of their call to share the Catholic faith.

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