Blessed Sacrament Church, a Jesuit Parish
arish life at Blessed Sacrament Church is primarily inspired by Ignatian spirituality. Its central conviction is that God is constantly active in all aspects of our lives. Regardless of what we may think of ourselves, God is always calling, directing, and guiding us to a place of wholeness and greater purpose – through our relationships and experiences, at work and at play, through culture, the arts, and in the intellectual life. How are we listening?
With this conviction as a point of departure, the “process” of Ignatian spirituality is the Spiritual Exercises. It is a retreat that offers us an ever deeper invitation into the life, ministry, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This leads to an intimacy and compels us to imitate him while paying attention to the values of his mind and heart. Through the Spiritual Exercises, we experience what Jesus loved, valued, and prioritized on a profound level. His mission is to actualize God’s desires for us, and as we accompany him, his journey becomes our journey and his goal becomes our goal.
Jesus’ communion with God was grounded in prayer. This energized him to live as an authentic person, fully alive before a loving and merciful God. Through this connection, Jesus gave hope and healing to the poor, especially to those socially and economically outcast. He spoke of joy, peace, and justice, and led men and women to follow his mission to help others become whole and holy.
Likewise, St. Ignatius would urge us to prayerfully reflect on our life experiences and seek God’s active presence while discerning the orientation toward which God is leading us. St. Ignatius’ method is the Examination of Consciousness. It is a form of prayer that fosters sensitivity to God’s will through the interpretation of interior movements and the cultivation of great desires.
Prayer experiences such as these elicit from us a wholehearted offering of ourselves and the desire to participate in Jesus’ work in the world. Ignatian spirituality therefore is quite practical – because if we truly desire to follow God’s will, it offers us a means for life planning and decision making.
This was St. Ignatius’ gift to the world. Though this spiritual perspective may seem new and even foreign to some, it has been the inspiration for Jesuits and thousands of others since the early 16th century. It has helped ordinary people conceive of imaginative ways to make extraordinary contributions to the world, all “For the Greater Glory of God.”