Saint Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556) was a soldier who became the mystic founder of the Society of Jesus, also called the Jesuits. They are known for their penchant for everyday spirituality — "finding God in all things." They also pioneered a blend of contemplation and concrete action in the world along with an emphasis on education and teaching. Ignatius designed a manual for the spiritual formation of the monks in his charge. They centered on a series of guided meditations and were created to facilitate "discernment." For centuries, these Spiritual Exercises have been used as the classic retreat in Catholicism.
Jim Manney makes an excellent guide for exploring this territory since he has written many popular books on Ignatian spirituality. He sees three goals of the Exercises:
1. To make ourselves ready.
2. To drive out disordered affections.
3. To seek and find the Divine will.
Manny is pleased that the Exercises have been called "the school of prayer," and he is convinced that Ignatian prayer cultivates a heart-centered relationship with God that is akin to friendship. His comments on "examine" and "the colloquy" are devotional gems. Take some time to ponder the passage we have chosen for an excerpt on "looking for God in everything." Let it simmer in your consciousness until it really stays with you.
In the rest of the book Manney covers Ignatian insights into the mystery of sin, the three kinds of humility, discerning the spirits, making decisions and more. He leaves us with the advice to be very watchful, taking in all that is happening us and not missing all the Divine grace moments.