Two anniversaries mark the year, the 500 years of the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola after the siege of Pamplona (May 20, 1521) and the 400 years of his canonization (March 12, 1622).
The founder of the Society of Jesus dreamt of India even before he actually sent out to the East any of his companions. He had India in mind when, in the autumn of 1539, he drew up the first official formula of his Institute to be approved by the Pope. In it he declares that the members of the new Society must be ready and pledge themselves by special vow to accept any mission or to go to any country where the Roman Pontiffs may wish to send them “whether to the Turks or any other infidels, also to those who live in the regions called the Indies, or to any heretics or schismatics or infidels”. It would take less than a year before he and his men were given a chance to prove the genuineness of these apostolic desires with regard to the India of the East. And the rest is history. As the Society of Jesus celebrate 400th anniversary of the canonizations of St. Ignatius of Loyola (and St. Francis Xavier), the SSPX Asia offers a tribute of homage to their holy founder and all those Jesuit's who have worked in this part of the world to plant and spread the kingdom of Christ.
We are hoping to re-publish summaries of articles of outstanding merit on St. Ignatius’ person and his work (under the title – Ignatian year). By doing this, our sole ambition is to make St Ignatius better known. Now, to know him is to love him and admire him, but it takes time fully to understand his spirit. The principles which St Ignatius has enshrined in the Spiritual Exercises is the fruit of an extraordinarily rich spiritual experience. To realize fully and appreciate these same principles requires a certain background of experience, not because they are so lofty and so wise but rather because they are so many-sided, so true to life, and, above all, so eminently sane and balanced.
We are not blind to the present state of the Jesuits and the path they have taken which is not at all what the founder has intended. The destruction they wreak upon the Holy Church is heartbreaking. As one author recently mentioned: “Poor Saint Ignatius! He must be rolling over in his grave. He who founded an order to defend the Church of all time, especially effective against Protestants and pagan idolatries, he sees the goal of his work completely reversed”. Let us pray for the Jesuits to reclaim their original spirit and glory.
“Arouse in thy Society, O Lord, the spirit which governed blessed Ignatius that they, being filled with that same spirit, may strive to love what he loved and to put into practice what he has taught” (Adapted from the Collect of St. Lawrence)
Fr. Therasian Babu.