Chance Encounter Leads to St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Ten years ago, I really didn’t know anything about St. Ignatius of Loyola, nor of the Jesuit order, which he founded. A chance encounter with a Jesuit priest changed that for me, and since that dinner conversation, I’ve incorporated Ignatian spirituality into my daily life.

I met Fr. George Lane, SJ, who was then the president of Loyola Press, during my first training as a ministry consultant. By chance, Fr. Lane sat next to me during dinner one night, and he asked me what I knew about St. Ignatius. I was embarrassed to say that I really didn’t know much at all about him or the Jesuits. Fr. Lane laughed, and we spent the rest of the meal talking about Ignatian spirituality. I was drawn in immediately, and what I heard resonated with me on a spiritual level.

The next day, Fr. Lane handed me several books, bound together with string, all of them on St. Ignatius and Ignatian spirituality. It was like a wonderful Christmas gift, and for the remainder of those days in Chicago, I returned to my hotel room each night and read from those books. A conversion in me began during those days, and I was profoundly affected. I could go on and on about the various aspects of Ignatian spirituality, but then this post would become a tome.

If I had to focus on just one aspect, it would be “Finding God in all things.” Integrating this spiritual component into my daily life has had great impact on me. It’s so easy to find God’s hand in things when they are going well: maybe getting the hoped-for job or a loved one being restored to health.

St. Ignatius would challenge us that, while God is certainly in those wonderful moments of life, he’s also present when things are not good. God is there when someone loses his job, and God is present when a terminal diagnosis is given.

Finding God in the experiences of daily life, both the good and the bad, isn’t easy. But to do so is to trust God in a deeper and more profound way. Adopting this one aspect of Ignatian spirituality has brought a wonderful sense of peace to my daily living. I hope it might for you as well.

Have you encountered St. Ignatius and the spiritual outlook that bears his name? Please share your own reflections about the way you’ve been touched by Ignatian spirituality.

To learn more about St. Ignatius or the spirituality he inspired, join in 31 Days with St. Ignatius, starting July 1, 2016.

About Paul Gallagher 18 Articles
Paul Gallagher is an Educational Consultant at Loyola Press. Previously, he was the DRE at St. John Catholic Church in Westminster, MD, for over 10 years. Deeply rooted in Ignatian spirituality, Paul blogs about transformation and taking care of ourselves, body, mind, and spirit at
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