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What is Spirituality? 

Spirituality can be defined as the expression of one's beliefs and values in action.

(thoughts, words, and actions align / head, heart, and hands align) 

What is an Ignatian Spirituality?*

Ignatian Spirituality is a way of proceeding in encountering and experiencing the world with deep gratitude for everyone and everything as a gift from God. A way of coming to know God, who is actively at work in creating, Self-giving, and communicating personally to each person, moment by moment, as His beloved. God who is Self-revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, guiding us in becoming contemplative in action.


Way of Being and Acting in the World

"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."

Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

A Vision of Life, Work, and Love 

A Pilgrimage 

A Spirituality of the Heart

What do we do out of love, versus out of reason


A Reflective Spirituality

Noticing and always discerning


All is Gift

All for the Greater Glory of God

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam - AMDG


God calls, We Respond

Finding God in all things

Contemplative in Action

Life of Discernment

Person for Others

Cura Personalis



Ignatian Principles 

The Principles of Ignatian Spirituality are found in the great truths in Scripture and Tradition.

  • God, our Creator, is the ultimate Truth and Way and the source of all beauty and goodness.

  • This spirituality emphasizes God, who is Love loving and is constantly at work in creation and in us.

  • As a result of God's action, we come to recognize that we were dreamt into being and created out of that love and are loved at each and every moment. 

  • God self-revealed in Jesus Christ invites us to co-labor with Him to build a kingdom of love through the grace and gifts given to each of us uniquely in our time and place to do that work.

  • We respond in gratitude with a love for actionable service.

A Practical Spirituality for Everyday for Everyone

Ignatian spirituality is a practical spirituality – practical meaning that one’s personal holiness affects one’s life world – something has to happen – as we are called to act intentionally out of love – becoming a ‘person for others’, a ‘contemplative in action’ – through a ‘disciplined asceticism of love’ in helping to bring the kingdom of heaven on earth. 

​This is the Ignatian way is a way of prayer in action, using our gifts and talents intentionally giving the greater in serving others, and by doing so we give glory to God. This spirituality is a pathway to a more profound prayer life, for good decision-making guided by keen discernment, and for an active life of service in finding God in all things.  With God’s grace, one grows in passion and humility into becoming 'a contemplative in action.'

The glory of God is a person fully alive

The Examen - Living Consciously & Intentionally 

The central theme in Ignatian Spirituality is about discovering and responding to God's ongoing call and action revealed through and encountered in all of creation: people, events, and nature. It is a realization that all we are and have is a gift, leading us to respond in awe, wonder, gratitude, and with an expanding love for our Creator, ourselves, and others in serving, becoming a person for others.


*This content has been paraphrased from the text by Handing on the Fire: Making Spiritual Direction Ignatian by Joseph Tetlow, SJ


St. Ignatius’ Spirituality

Ignatius's spirituality grew out of the unique and personal relationship that he experienced with God. His conversion journey began while he was recovering from a severe injury, a battleground wound, and continued throughout his life. During his initial conversion experience, Ignatius began to keep notes on his feelings, thoughts, and those interior changes (he called movements or spirits ) as he was going through in recovery.

As time passed, Ignatius guided many others (long before he became a priest and founded the Society of Jesus. His notes were eventually developed into a guide called The Spiritual Exercises. It is through this process of encountering the mysterious of Scriptures,  they came to have a personal experience of the fullness of God in their own unique and individual experience of finding God in all things.

In one of his mystical visions, St. Ignatius of Loyola experienced  - ‘saw’ - God as a giver of gifts, who showers us endlessly with blessings and gifts, like the sunbathing the earth with its light and warmth. This was a God who dwells in all things, who labors actively and creatively to renew all of creation, and whose presence can be 'felt ' (a felt sense) in our everyday experience, and action can be seen in our encounters through our day. For St. Ignatius, his Catholic faith was rooted in gratitude, which was a natural and loving response to the Creator of all gifts.

 The Focus of Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

To serve others, with Christ at the center

to know Christ more clearly

to love Christ  more dearly

and to follow Christ more nearly

day by day

The Ignatian prayer methods in the Spiritual Exercises are designed to engage all of one’s self: thoughts, memories, understandings, affections, senses, and will help one to notice God's presence, action, and gifts in every day and, most of all to increase one’s awareness of, and to listen to how and when God speaks to them.

This organized set of meditations’ goal is adapted to the individual, for one to be able to respond out of the promptings of the Holy Spirit – to act out of love, not of the chaos and distortedness from inordinate attachments so as to experience freedom in following and imitating Christ in their own context and uniqueness.


More Resources

literal translation David Fleming, SJ

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