Today, May 20, 2021 marks the beginning of an extraordinary Ignatian Year. On this date 500 years ago, Ignatius of Loyola (1491- 1556) was struck by a cannonball during a fierce battle against the French in Pamplona, Spain. Although many wanted to surrender, Ignatius kept fighting, and encouraged those fighting with him to do the same.
In the end, it was Ignatius’ injury which led to surrender. The French soldiers were so taken by Ignatius’ bravery, they carried him home to his family castle in the Basque country. The trip took several days, and there’s no doubt it was a hellish one for Ignatius. This photo, taken by me while visiting the castle on pilgrimage, captures Ignatius’ arrival home.
During many months of painful recovery, Ignatius began to think about life, both his past and what might come next. He felt a stirring in his heart and mind, and with his turning to God, a conversion began.
I’m intending to post regularly on this Ignatian Year in the weeks and months ahead. I believe its an incredible opportunity to learn about this great Saint, but also discern for ourselves where God might be calling us.
For today, here’s a couple of links focused on the Ignatian Year.
Some final words from Master Ignatius:
“There are very few who realize what God would make of them if they abandoned themselves entirely to His hands, and let themselves be formed by His grace.
A thick and shapeless tree trunk would never believe that it could become a statue, admired as a miracle of sculpture… and would never consent to submit itself to the chisel of the sculptor who, as St. Augustine says, sees by his genius what he can make of it.
Many people who, we see, now scarcely live as Christians, do not understand that they could become saints, if they would let themselves be formed by the grace of God, if they did not ruin His plans by resisting the work which He wants to do.”
Ignatius of Loyola
(In a letter to Ascanio Colonna, Rome, April 25, 1543)