Issues Vol. 168‎ > ‎

Vol. 168 No. 30 - July 29 - August 04, 2017

01 Cover

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:53 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:53 PM ]

03 Index

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:52 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:53 PM ]

04 Engagements

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:50 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:50 PM ]

05 Editorial - Ignatius’ love for Jesus and its consequences

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:48 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:48 PM ]

Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus, possessed innumerable qualities which made him a giant of his time. He remains a giant in our times as well. Some qualities are enumerated below in the hope that, with God's grace, we can assimilate at least some of them in our following of the Lord.

The quality which characterised St Ignatius the most was his deep personal love for the person of Jesus Christ. Ignatius was so taken up with Jesus, that he was willing to do anything, go anywhere, and be any one as long as he could imitate Jesus. His intention in naming the Society after Jesus was both because he did not seek personal glory, and also because he wanted that his companions and those who decided to join this least Society would be Jesuita (like Jesus Christ).

Ignatius' personal love for the person of Jesus led him to being 'a Contemplative in Action'. While he always set aside time for prayer and communion with the Lord, in his personal life, prayer was never separated from action. Due to his close communion with the Lord, be it at work or in solitude and silence, Ignatius was always listening to and waiting for the Lord. He never presumed to tell the Lord what to do. Rather, like an attentive student before his Master, he was always listening and discerning what the Lord wanted him to do. He devoted a whole section to 'Discernment' in his Spiritual Exercises, because his one desire was to do what God wanted him to do.

His desire to do God's will, no matter what the consequences, led him to keep searching for the 'Magis', meaning the greater or more. The Magis was not simply one among others in a list of the qualities of St Ignatius; it permeated them all. There was no complacency or self-satisfaction. God had to be given not only all, but more than all. This is why he chose as the motto of the Society of Jesus Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam (A.M.D.G.) which means, in English, 'The Greater Glory of God'.

Ignatius' striving for Magis led him to the invaluable quality of 'Indifference' which is part of the last Annotation in the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius understood Indifference as deep concern for the 'things of the Lord'. Because of this concern, one could be detached from the outcome. Ignatian Indifference means doing all that has to be done to the best of one's ability, and then leaving the rest in God's capable hands.

His 'indifference' which meant that God was in control in all circumstances led him to formulate 'Rules for thinking with the Church'. Unlike some contemporaries of his time, who broke away from the Church when they disagreed with the hierarchy, Ignatius was loyal to the Church right through. He regarded the Church as a mother. He never considered himself an outsider, an armchair critic, but actively went about trying to reform the Church from within. Since the Church was the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-31), Ignatius regarded himself and the Society as an integral part of this body.

This 'Body of Christ' was in the world and had to serve the world. Of those to be served, Ignatius preferred to be in solidarity with those most in need. He deliberately chose the path of poverty in order to experience firsthand what the poor went through. This enabled him to reach out to them in a practical and tangible manner.

The feast of Ignatius (July 31) is for each of us an opportunity to ask whether we can try to assimilate some of these qualities. Of these, it seems to me that if we make every attempt to deepen our relationship with the Lord, all others will naturally follow.

Fr Errol Fernandes is a Jesuit priest of the Bombay Province and Assistant at Holy Family Parish, Andheri

06 Fidelity in the Spirit of St Ignatius - Fr. John Froz SJ

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:44 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:45 PM ]

Devotion is an integral part of St Ignatius' Spirituality. It means an enormous appreciation before God of what is associated with spiritual progress. It expresses openness to God. Its goal is worship of the Lord in all things, finding and serving God in all things.

An awareness of God: Contemplation to obtain love and Contemplation in Action.

In The Spiritual Diary of St Ignatius of Loyola, it is clear that every devotional reflection is full of life. Ignatius received a new insight. Ignatius said, "I shall settle down at the point where I have found what I want, without any anxiety about moving on, until I am satisfied.

Ignatius had a deep devotion to Mother Mary and the Holy Trinity. Ignatius' devotion to the Celebration of the Lord's Supper (the Eucharist) is the source of his spirituality and Spiritual Diary. It is an investigation of his deep Spirituality. Ignatius' relationship with God, oneself, others and the cosmos led him to be like Christ. Ignatius was enlightened; he became a different man with another heart and mind. He could see the divine in everything and everything in the Divine.

A pilgrimage with St Ignatius, God the Father, Jesus the Son and Mother Mary: This is the key idea in the "Principle and Foundation", which opens the Exercises. It is also present, though with changed meaning, in all the prayers of the last three weeks: "to ask grace from our Lord that I may not be deaf to His call, but ready and attentive to accomplish His most holy will."

The spirituality of St Ignatius is based on 'Jesus - the Way of Life.' It is not difficult to see what is meant. For example, Ignatius writes: "While I prepared the altar for Mass, Jesus came into my thoughts, and I felt encouraged to follow Him, it seemed to be in some way the work of the blessed Trinity, that I could see or feel Jesus, and I remembered the time when the Father placed me with the Son."

Ignatius is assigning what the great visitation of grace that took place at La Storta, as he was on his way to Rome. Ignatius (later in his life) seems to have described this experience in the Spiritual Diary, "A placing with the Son by the Father".


07 Gift of Mystical union with the Divine - Fr. Vijay Gonsalves

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:39 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:39 PM ]

'The Loquela'

Loquela in Latin means speech, discourse or a conversation. These were experienced at the internal and external levels, by St Ignatius of Loyola, in a musical and harmonious form. (cf. by J. A. Munitiz SJ and T. Panikulam SJ in their translations in Spiritual Diary – number 221. St Ignatius mentions his mysterious gift of Loquela in SD 221. Until then, it was tears, before, during and after Mass, which were the guiding elements of Ignatius' prayer and discernment. But now there is something more added to help Ignatius discern what God wants of Him and of the Society of Jesus. This experience leads him into a deeper union with the Lord.

Ignatius writes, "I had tears before Mass and very abundant and continuous tears during Mass, with internal loquela during the Mass. This seemed to me to be more divinely granted, since I had prayed for it this very day, because during the past week, at times I had noticed the external loquela, at times I had not, but the internal less, although on last Saturday, I did experience it a little more clearly." (SD 221) Although he experienced Loquela earlier, yet he was not sure of it because of its subtle form, but now it is clearer in its manifestation. After its clearer manifestation, Ignatius is led into its deeper richness. Just as the experience of the sea at the shore is noisier, visibly rough, strong and with excitement, but as we go deeper into the sea although very strong undercurrents are at work, yet we experience the stillness, calmness, and a variety of elements at play, and the richness is revealed to our senses, external as well as internal. It is in similar tones we see Ignatius experiencing the depth of this mysterious gift of Loquela.

Thus he mentions, "So also during all the Masses of the week, although I was not so visited with tears, I enjoyed greater tranquility or contentment throughout the Mass, because of the delight I felt in the loquela, on account of the internal devotion. Those of today, I felt, are absolutely different from all the past ones, for they came so slowly, internally, gently, without fuss or great excitement. I felt that they came from deep within, but I do not know how to explain it. During the internal and external loquela, everything drew me to divine love and to the gift of loquela divinely bestowed. The interior harmony of the internal loquela was such that I cannot explain it." (SD 222). And again he says, "The great delight of the internal loquela resembled or reminded me of the music of heavenly loquela or of heavenly music. My devotion and affection increased with tears, when I realised that I felt these or understood them by divine action." (SD 224).


09 Creative Tensions - Fr. John Rose SJ

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:37 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:37 PM ]

The convalescence from his bad knee injury led to the conversion of Ignatius. He had a great desire to outdo the saints whom he had read about very keenly. To decide what he had to do with his life, he set out from Navarre all the way to Manresa in Catalonia, riding on an ass. On the way, he was accosted in a friendly way by a Moor, and the banter soon gave way to serious conversation. The topic of Jesus' virginal birth came up, and the Moor was quite accepting of Mary's virginity, but only before, not after, Jesus' birth. Ignatius' arguments were unable to change the Moor's mind, and they parted ways. Ignatius felt a loss of face, since he had failed to maintain Our Lady's honour. His feelings turned to wrath, and he wanted to kill the Moor. But he was not sure whether what he wanted to do was the right thing. At the fork of the road, one way was nicely down-sloping and wide, the one that the Moor had taken. Ignatius let loose the reins of the ass on which he was riding, but the ass nonchalantly took the other way - the difficult high road to Catalonia. Balaam wasn't the only one to be saved by the wisdom of an ass. It took Ignatius many years and many experiences to understand the ways of God, to discover that they are not learnt merely from what is written in holy books or from pronouncements by holy people, but more from a properly educated mind, and above all, from personal experiences.

The difficulties which Ignatius faced in early adult life, and even after he obtained a Masters in Theology and gathered his first companions with a particular programme in mind, never left him, though they were of a different nature. There was no blueprint, and there was never an assurance about what he had to do and how to do it, and the results of what was ventured could never be previewed. Yet, Ignatius brings home to us that no human being can ever exist without tensions, since the forces in any situation and for any decision are so many and mutually conflicting, yet it is not to be run away from. Tensions could be seen as an opportunity to creatively find a better way of living.

Tension between prayer and work:

Ignatius learnt everything through prayer. There is much insistence on it in his Spiritual Exercises and the Constitutions and his correspondence with a variety of people. Ignatius has a famous letter addressed to students, in which he attempts to present proper perspectives. Tasks at hand have priority over others which could be, in theory, more important. So with regards to the tension between prayer and study, during a particular stage of Jesuit life, Ignatius reduces prayer to the daily examen and to half an hour of meditation, the presumption being that the rest of the time available has to be spent in serious intellectual study. The subliminal message given is that anything and everything is done for God, God's glory. This tension is a common one, and the Benedictines had much earlier already solved it creatively, as enshrined in their motto, Ora et Labora. Contemplation in action (as understood by Jesuits) has no prescriptions about either prayer or study.


11 Inner Voices, Guiding Choices – Ignatian Discernment - Wesley D'Costa SJ

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:34 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:34 PM ]

Choices are an inevitable part of our lives. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed, we constantly make choices. We consider some choices as regular everyday choices e.g. what to eat, what to wear, etc. while there are other choices that we consider life changing decisions e.g. marriage, religious life, career, migration, etc. However, what does making choices have to do with religion or spirituality?

For St Ignatius of Loyola, everything he did and felt was geared towards making choices. Every choice was not merely a decision taken on the basis of whims and fancies or mood swings. On the contrary, every decision had to be carefully discerned so as to be in accordance with the Will of God. Every action performed that was driven by a choice had to be solely with the intention of giving glory to God.

How did Ignatian discernment begin?

While convalescing at the castle of Loyola, after he had suffered a serious injury in the battle of Pamplona, he pondered over his life. He soon realised that there were various inner movements that were driving him. Some movements stirred him towards acquiring success as a soldier, and other worldly honours, while there were other movements that instilled in him a desire to imitate Christ and the lives of saints about whom he read while recovering. He considered one to be a true spirit that aids us to do God's will and the other he considered as a false spirit that took us away from God. As he set out on his spiritual journey, a journey into his soul and interior life, he soon discovered the various aspects associated with the discernment of spirits.

What is the general process of discernment?

St Ignatius put down his process in the form of Spiritual Exercises that one needed to practise daily. The Spiritual Exercises were meant to enable a person to get rid of disordered affections; in other words, those emotions and feelings that act as obstacles or hinder us from doing the Will of God. So firstly, we try to come to a state of balance so that we do not take decisions that are hasty or coloured by our own emotions. Secondly, we are invited to understand what is the purpose of our life - i.e. to praise, revere and serve God, which means that all our choices should be geared towards this end. Thirdly, we set Jesus as an ideal. We contemplate and meditate on Jesus and His life. We follow Him very closely, fall in love with Him and desire to serve Him. In this process, we try to imitate Him in the choices He makes. The choices that Jesus made are very contrary to the choices that we associate with successful living. He lived in poverty, simplicity and chose to die on the Cross. Choices associated with Jesus imply entering through the narrow gate.

Then the challenge put forth is how much like Jesus do I want to be? St Ignatius desired deeply to be placed with the Son. He fought and prayed vehemently that his congregation could bear the name of Jesus - the Company of Jesus or the Society of Jesus. St Ignatius was a man who wanted to be as close to Christ as possible. He wanted to imitate Him in his choices, actions and even His suffering. His heart was on fire with a zeal to find and do the will of God. He made the prayer, 'The Suscipe', in which he surrenders himself totally by giving his will, his understanding, his liberty and freedom. To be able to deny oneself in such a manner requires an incredibly high degree of interior freedom and to be rid of any disordered affections.


12 Ignatian words and phrases - their meaning and relevance - Arun Philip Simon SJ

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:31 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:31 PM ]

As we celebrate the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola on July 31, it would be interesting to ask what is his relevance today? How could his teachings be interpreted for the present day? What is the meaning of his spirituality today? The best living example of Ignatian spirituality is Pope Francis. I would reflect on some chosen phrases associated with him, and what it could mean today.

1. MAGIS: This Latin word meant 'More or Better.' Ignatius was so captured by the love of Christ that he asked, “What more could I do for Christ?” The principal question in discernment is which among the two or three good options is better to promote the greater glory of God. This experience of MAGIS, which is a gift of the Spiritual Exercises (a 30-day retreat that a Jesuit makes at least twice in his lifetime) has helped Jesuits to be pioneers in many fields. Today, the more we can do for Christ could be understood as an invitation to work with the refugees, to enable Christian theology inculturated in post-modern culture and in multi-cultural situations, to be persons of spiritual, intellectual and psychological depth, to offer the Spiritual Exercises as a gift for a generation seeking deep spiritual experiences.

2. Go Forth and set the world on Fire: Ignatius often ended his letters to Jesuits departing for the missions with this expression, which became the defining call in the life of St Francis Xavier. Today, the world is already ignited by the fire of religious fanaticism, right-wing nationalism and growing inequality between the rich and the poor. As Jesus has come to give life in all its fullness, it is our responsibility to creatively tackle the divisive fire present today and to ignite the world with the fire of love and compassion. This task requires the collaboration of deep personal God experiences with the religious, cultural and personal creativities of various people.

3. Teach us to give and not to count the Cost:
This phrase is part of the prayer for Generosity, which echoes the spirit of Ignatius (not written by him). Jesus invites the disciples to be leaven in the world, which is an invitation to transform the world. Your identity may be dissolved in that process, but you have made a significant contribution. This is all the more true in present day India. We shouldn’t forget many missionaries (religious and lay) who have made a difference in ordinary or extraordinary ways. Recently, Pope Francis opened the way to declare as saints those who, following in the footsteps and teachings of Jesus, freely choose to give their lives for others in situations that they know will lead to certain death.


14 Notes & Comments

posted Jul 27, 2017, 11:27 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jul 27, 2017, 11:28 PM ]

Holy Crosses in East Indian Gaothans


Holy Crosses are a common feature of every East Indian village in Mumbai, Thane, Vasai and Raigad. The Community Cross is a place where all residents come together to recite the Rosary, especially during the months of May and October. The month of May is extra special, as each family offers a Rosary, after which boiled gram (channa) and soft drinks are served. During the month of May, a day is chosen to celebrate as Cross Feast Day at each Community Cross; a majority celebrate the Cross Feast Day on May 31. Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP) had declared May 31 as Holy Cross Day in the year 2013.

The Holy Crosses were built to save the village from plague over a century ago. Today, many of these crosses have been targeted by the civic authorities, and termed illegal. The need of the hour today is the protection and restoration of our Holy Crosses. The tradition of Holy Crosses began even before the BMC existed. The authorities need to respect the religious sentiments and ancestral traditions of the sons-of-the-soil - the East Indian Community. MGP proposes the concept of CROSS (Coordination, Restoration, Organisation, Support and Security).


Peace education for students in J&K


Jammu-Srinagar Diocese has launched a project to educate young people on the need for peace on the Indian side of the India-Pakistan border where hostilities between the two countries have killed hundreds of people.

The project is “an effort to foster friendship and oneness by accepting that we belong to one human family,” said Fr Saiju Chacko, director of Catholic Social Service Society, Jammu-Srinagar Diocese’s social service wing. The project funded by Caritas India, is called ‘Maitri Abhiyan’.

Anita Sharma, a ninth grader from Holy Cross Convent School in the border area of RS Pora, said that she and her friends have been taking part in various competitions under the programme. “It helped us think about what is going on,” she said. “Nothing but destruction resulted because of animosity. If we have to progress, peace is inevitable. We students yearn for peace, and hope for a peaceful tomorrow,” Sharma said. In October, her family had to take shelter in a government “safe house” when tensions escalated in her village on the India-Pakistan border. 


Religious leaders best at fighting extremism: Nuncio


Religious leaders, not secularists, are often in the best position to persuade violent religious extremists towards peace, the Papal Nuncio to the United Nations has said in response to an effort to prevent atrocities.

“The very existence of a plan directed toward religious leaders is also a humble recognition by the international community that those who are being incited by pseudo-religious motivations for violence aren’t going to be effectively persuaded out of it by secular argumentation from so-called infidels or by economic materialism,” Archbishop Bernardito Auza said July 14.

“They need, rather, valid religious arguments that show that extremists’ violence-inducing exegesis is unfaithful to the text and to the God they’re claiming to serve; they need persuasive counter-arguments that plant the seeds of peace and eradicate the weeds of violence.”

Archbishop Auza is the Apostolic Nuncio leading the Holy See’s Permanent Observer Mission to the United Nations. He spoke at the launch of a Plan of Action for religious leaders and other actors to prevent incitement to violence that could lead to atrocities. The plan follows two years of consultations by Adama Dieng, the U.N. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. Dieng told UN Radio that the plan had been designed to counter the kind of ideology that led to the Islamic State group’s genocide against the Yazidi people.


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