Weekend Reflections for 7/28/17
Walking “Wisely Ignorant” with the Pilgrim Saint
As “Ignatian Theologian” and first generation Jesuit Fr. Jerome Nadal, S. J. (1507-1580) described his way of proceeding, ‘Ignatius was following the spirit, he was not running ahead of it. And yet he was being led gently, whither he didn’t know. He was not intending at that time to found the order. Little by little, though, the road was opening up before him and he was moving along it, wisely ignorant, with his heart placed very simply in Christ’.
The image above comes from my time of ministry in the country of “The Mission,” where in the 17th and 18th centuries Jesuits help “reduce” or “lead back” the native Guarani peoples into small communities or “reductions” to protect them from exploitation and slavery and to cultivate their wonderful talents. Their gifts for the arts were evident in all of their wonderful crafts, especially architecture and sculpture, some of which remains until this day, as does this life sized statue of Ignatius in San Ignacio de Misiones, Paraguay.
To me, this image of Ignatius says so much about his spirit of discernment, always seeking God’s way on his pilgrimage that eventually led to his founding the Society of Jesus.
As we celebrate Ignatius’ feast day on July 31, may we ask for the grace of being “wisely ignorant” ourselves as we too are a pilgrim people seeking God’s guiding Spirit on our own pilgrim journeys. The Spiritual Exercises Ignatius experienced and wrote down in his little pilgrimage guidebook offer us ways to cultivate wise ignorance for our own pilgrim journeys. You are always welcome to continue your own pilgrimage, wisely ignorant, by joining us at
White House Jesuit Retreat.
Edward B. "Ted" Arroyo, S.J.