St Ignatius Loyola is one of the giants of Western spirituality. Badly wounded while fighting for the glory of Spain, he had nothing to read during his recuperation except the life of Christ and a book about the saints. Slowly, the power of what he was reading began to touch his heart and convert him to a new way of life. Wondering whether he could use the same energy he had for fighting and carousing in the service of the Gospel, he had a vision of Mary and knew he had to change his life totally. Soon afterwards, he began to write what would later be known as the Spiritual Exercises.
Exercises is an interesting work in English. It means we have to do something. We cannot expect results without effort. We must maintain a daily schedule of reflection, reconciliation and renewal. Because Ignatius taught these great truths, he became one of the most important teachers of the post reformation church, insisting that all real reform would begin with each individual’s commitment to living the gospel in a more transparent way.
One small, intriguing piece of Ignatius’ biography is telling. Thinking he was called to live in the Holy Land, he went to the seaport nearest Rome, but was unable to find passage to Jerusalem. After several failed attempts, he finally he decided to ask Pope Paul III for help and advice, and the Pope set him on the path that would alter his life and entire Christian West. Ignatius would be commissioned to reeducate and recatechize Europe in the fundamentals of faith.
Today, hand your life over to God and see what happens.
What are your most important moments of conversion?