What Am I Here For?

Being Contemplatives in Action


Ignatian spirituality tells us that God is an active, busy God. Jesus Christ has come on a mission to save and heal the world. St. Ignatius of Loyola depicts him as a king with ambitious plans: “I want to overcome all diseases, all poverty, all ignorance, all oppression and slavery—in short, all the evils which beset humankind.”

Christ calls us to join him in this mission. Responding to this call is the great challenge of our lives. The essence of Christ’s call is to be with him as he works. We are to share Christ’s life, to think like him, to do what he does. In the Ignatian perspective, we grow close to God as we do God’s work in the world.

This is why those influenced by Ignatian spirituality are often called “contemplatives in action.” They cultivate a habit of regular reflection in order to detect the presence of God in their lives. They employ the tools of Ignatian discernment to make sound decisions. The fruit of this contemplative effort is action.

This is the answer to the question, “What am I here for?” We're here to share in Christ’s mission. Our work may be humble in the eyes of the world, but it actually elevates us to something like a partnership with God. Our willingness to do his work allows God to act in our created world.