During a recent lesson in my Western Civilization course, I had the opportunity to read a small part of Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises. First though let me briefly tell you a little bit about this religious man then I will mention what I found about his religious and doctrinal opinions.
Ignatius lived in 16th Century Spain. When he was a young man, he joined the Spanish military. While serving in the military, he was shot in the legs by a cannonball and he survived! Unfortunately for him, he was discharged from the military. That incident left him with a limp for the rest of his life. When he was in the hospital he read some religious texts that sparked an interest in religion. In 1540 he and a few other theologians, including St. Francis Xavier, were granted permission, by Pope Paul III, to organize the Society of Jesus or Jesuits.
You cannot read Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises and not get the sense that he really was a committed Catholic. However I found it interesting in the reading that he does not want time to be wasted explaining faith vs. good works in depth. Instead, he felt that people should decide on their own whether they faith or did good works. He argued that there would be no need for faith if everybody practiced good works and no need for good works if everybody had faith.
In many ways Loyola accomplished much, but his greatest contribution was to the betterment of the current state of the world that he lived in. And even though he is not alive today, his contributions, such as his Spiritual Exercises can still be read and have the same impression it had on someone then as it does today. That is the great thing about religious books and texts, they will always be applicable no matter where and when you live!
Join RPC today!