What is Ignatian Spirituality?


Spirituality is a unified world view and way of life. Christian Spirituality is believing and acting in accord with God’s self revelation in Christ. But there are many ways of doing this, all faithful to the Gospels, but historically, psychologically, and culturally distinct.

Ignatian Spirituality is rooted in the life and experience of St. Ignatius Loyola. Ignatius’ book of the Spiritual Exercises, arising from his personal experience, was written to help people. It contains a series of meditations and prayers, considerations, rules, and good advice that can be drawn upon as needed. This book is the principle written source of Ignatian spirituality. People who have made the Exercises and have adopted their principles are living Ignatian Spirituality.


Some of the characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality are:

  • Belief that we are created, forgiven, accepted, and unconditionally loved by God, and are called to a life of union with God now and for all eternity.
  • Conviction that God does not hold aloof from creation, but is actively working in our world and our lives.
  • Affirmation of the world, all the elements of which are created good and in which God may be found.
  • Reverence for God and gratitude for God’s gifts leading to a response of love and service.
  • Contemplation, looking for and finding God, in all things, in action as well as in prayer.
  • Reverence for and reflection on human experience, since God’s presence and call can be discovered there.
  • Continual prayer and discernment, attending in particular to interior movements of the heart through which God is manifest.
  • Awareness that God deals directly with each person, and that each person must be treated with individual care.
  • Reverence for the freedom of each individual to respond to the call of God.
  • Clear distinction between God and all other things which are means to the love and service of God and others.
  • Freedom from disordered attachments to any of these means in themselves so that we may clearly discern, rightly judge, correctly choose, and faithfully and lovingly respond to God.
  • Critical consciousness of the distinction between the action of God and movements originating elsewhere that undermine freedom and love.
  • Personal love for Jesus, which expresses itself in a commitment to work as his companion and to continue his mission in the world for the good of our fellow men and women.
  • Dedication to the Church, the Body of Christ, and to the Holy Father his Vicar.
  • Commitment to the welfare of our fellow humans — especially the marginalized, poor and oppressed — by a service of faith of which the promotion of justice is an integral part.

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