Iggy’s Biggies: 12 Key Take-Aways from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

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For those who are new to Ignatian Spirituality (like I was back in 2015 when, in my extensive training in spiritual direction, I was encouraged by my teacher, Dave Nixon, to journey through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius), allow me to give you what I affectionately call Iggy’s Biggies. Here are twelve core truths found within the Exercises…Ignatian take-aways, when lived out through the unction of the Holy Spirit, which can be game-changers in the faith-walk of any follower of Jesus of Nazareth. 

  1. Ignatian spirituality is all about Freedom…free to be you, free to be all God has made you to be.
  2. Ignatian spirituality is all about Finding God in All Things…in God we live, move and have our being. There is no separation between secular and sacred.
  3. Ignatian spirituality is all about God as our Creator…involved in the world and involved in the lives of individuals, guiding us, communicating to us, and loving us. God is holy, other, and transcendent; God is personal, involved, and immanent. God is Triune – one yet three, each person of the Trinity we are encouraged to commune with.
  4. Ignatian spirituality is all about the Prayer of Examen…self-awareness is the key prayer practice in the Exercises and an important tool for becoming a discerning, grateful person. Its use extends beyond the Exercises, developing a rhythm of life; morning, afternoon and evening.
  5. Ignatian spirituality is all about the Spiritual Exercise…anything we enter into with the intention of opening ourselves up to God. Adaptability is needed in order to help a soul in ways that are best for them while fostering creativity. Each journey is unique.
  6. Ignatian spirituality is all about Holy Indifference…Freedom from disordered attachments empowers us to say yes to God and live more fully into the person God has created us to be. The glory of God is a person fully alive (St Irenaeus). Resistance to indifference is not to be ignored, but can serve as a doorway to the Divine and to self-discovery.
  7. Ignatian spirituality is all about Consolation vs Desolation…anything, internal or external, that takes us toward God (consolation) vs. anything, internal or external, that takes us away from God (desolation).
  8. Ignatian spirituality is all about Jesus…His life, death and resurrection.
  9. Ignatian spirituality is all about Conversational Prayer…encouraging the use of imagination – bringing together the right/left side of brain. Walking with Jesus rather than reading about Jesus. Talking with God and Jesus as one talks with a friend.
  10. Ignatian spirituality is all about Holistic Spirituality…use of mind, body and senses. Intentionally focused on feelings, emotions, and desires but living in balance between the mind and the heart…thoughts and feelings.
  11. Ignatian spirituality is all about Rules of Discernment…inner awareness of the movements of the Spirit. A drop of water hitting a sponge or a rock (consolation vs desolation). Do not change a decision in desolation that you made during consolation. The evil one will use good and holy thoughts to his own end. Keep discerning even after a decision is made. Am I being driven or drawn?
  12. Ignatian spirituality is all about living our lives for the Greater Glory of God (AMDG). We’re contemplatives in action; Christ-followers set apart for the sake of others. The road is our home.

For more info on The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius…visit these sites on our website: 

Journey with Jesus: Larry Warner’s guidebook to the Exercises.

An Ignatian Adventure: Father Kevin O’Brien’s guidebook to the Exercises.