Ignatian Spirituality?

Q. Pope Francis talks a lot about Ignatian spirituality. What exactly is that? Can anyone practice it?

Thomas, via email

A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:

Speaking as a Jesuit, the pope necessarily reflects his own deep formation.

The basic text of Ignatian spirituality is the Spiritual Exercises, written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th-century founder of the Jesuit order. Anyone who is willing to study these exercises is welcome to practice them.

According to St. Ignatius, the purpose of his “spiritual exercises” is “to conquer oneself and to regulate one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment.” In other words, to grow in our capacity to discern and follow God’s will. Indeed, this is the ultimate objective of all the Church’s many different spiritualities.