10 Characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality

When I first came to Loyola Press, someone asked me to do my best to sum up Ignatian Spirituality in as easily-understandable way as I could.  I came up with a list of ten characteristics and I will now share them with you, David Letterman-style, from #10 to #1 (although I’m not confident that there is a “correct” order).  Astute readers (!) will notice that I have covered several of these characteristics in individual posts and I plan to write on them all as we go along.

10. Union of minds and hearts – as brothers and sisters, we listen for the God who is present among us, admitting no division based on ethnicity, nationality, background, age or gender.

9. Flexibility and adaptability – (e.g.,16th Century Jesuits wearing Chinese robes and generally adapting to various cultures; respecting people’s lived experience.)

8. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (For the greater glory of God) – praising God and dedicating oneself to participate in God’s healing work in the world.

7. “The World is charged with the grandeur of God” – the positive, energetic and engaged vision of God’s constant interaction with creation.

6. Faith that does justice – the realization that there can be no true expression of faith where concerns for justice and human dignity are missing.

5. Inner Freedom (the result of self-awareness and discernment.)

4. Contemplation in action – not a monastic existence, but an active one that is, at the same time, infused with prayer.

3. Reflection (Self-awareness/Discernment) leading to Gratitude which leads to Service (linked to becoming a “man or woman for others” – big Ignatian buzzwords.)

2. Personal relationship with Christ and love for the Church (bruised and broken as it often is.)

1. Finding God in all things


  1. Glenn Ponas says

    “Becoming a man (or woman) for others”… It’s taken me 30 years since I left Jesuit high school – until finding and reading this page today – that I get the depth of that statement. As a teacher for the last 25 years, I felt that I have served others in my work. I need to own that phrase in all moments of my life both professional and personal. And I am grateful to God for being so patient with me.

  2. Arthur Revak says

    I am grateful for Saint Francis and Saint Ignatius and all those who believe for the sake of the Gospel. Their writings have shown me a way of growing closer to Jesus. Especially now that our children are grown and living away from home. Things are a little different, but I know that God will always provide.

  3. Anthony McGinn says

    Sorry this is very incomplete. There is no mention of sin. The first week of the Spiritual Exercises is about one becoming aware of and repentant for his or her sins. It is hard to imagine Ignatius leaving sin off the list.

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