Ignatius: A Man of God, A Companion of Jesus
Perhaps the best known Ignatian motto is AMDG, for the ever greater glory of God. His most basic desire was to discover and do the will of God; God is the one who made us, out of love and for a purpose, and Ignatius fervently believed it is worth dedicating one’s whole life to finding and fulfilling that purpose.
The key to this quest was the One who had been totally successful in doing this: Jesus Christ. In the person of Jesus God has been made visible, and as we listen to his call to follow him, we discover our own calling. It was the life of Jesus and that of the saints who gave their life for him that moved Ignatius to his conversion after the battle of Pamplona. During his months in Manresa Ignatius discovered that his deepest desire was to know Jesus more intimately, so as to better love him and follow him more closely.
This is the basic experience that Ignatius tried go share with others through the Spiritual Exercises: we strive to get to know Jesus by being with him at his birth, his life in Nazareth, his public life, his passion, death and resurrection. The better we know Jesus the more we feel called to follow him even in his choices, to pray to be accepted under the banner of the Cross, to be sad during the passion and share the joy of his Resurrection.
Ignatius saw this process as the way to true life, repeating the experience the Apostles had with Jesus during his earthly life. If like them I spend time with Jesus, getting to know him and his way of life, like them I will acknowledge him as my saviour.
It was this personal love for Jesus that led him to be unusually adamant in choosing the name of his new religious order. It was going to be nothing else but the compañia of Jesus, with its connotations of companionship, common enterprise and fellowship (cum + panis, sharing bread with).
Ignatius prompts me to ask myself to what extent my Christian faith is really centred around the person of Jesus. Being a Christian is seen by some as no more than a vague belief in an anonymous God or adhering to a moral code.
Ignatius shared his experience of discovering God in his life through the Spiritual Exercises. If you like to know more about this experience, contact the Centre for Ignatian Spirituality in your region or look up this website, http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises