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Pope reflects on Ignatian spirituality and seminary formation

May 08, 2017

Pope Francis received seminarians from Italy’s only diocesan seminary entrusted to the care of Jesuits and reflected on the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola and seminary formation.

Ignatian spirituality emphasizes the “centrality of the relationship of personal friendship with the Lord Jesus,” the Pope told members of the community of the Pontifical Campano Seminary of Posillipo, who had gathered in the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace on May 6. “It is precisely the primacy given to the relationship with the Lord, Who calls us ‘friends’ (cf. John 15:15), which allows to live a solid, profound but not disincarnate spirituality.”

“Discernment is the second aspect I would like to underline,” the Pope continued in his address to the seminarians, who come from the Naples region. “To be experts in the art of discernment, it is necessary to have, first and foremost, a good familiarity with listening to the Word of God, but also a growing knowledge of oneself, of one’s own inner world of emotions and fears … Discernment is a choice of courage, contrary to the more comfortable and reductive ways of rigorism and laxism.”

The Pope added:

Finally, forming oneself in the priesthood according to an Ignatian style means opening oneself always to the dimension of the Kingdom of God, cultivating the desire for “magis,” of that “something more” in the generosity of giving ourselves to the Lord and to our brothers, that is always in front of us … Inner freedom from goods: I want to underline this. It is the misstep! Do not forget: the devil enters via the pocket, always, then vanity follows, then pride, haughtiness, and in this way it ends.

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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 10, 2017 10:42 AM ET USA

    "Discernment is a choice of courage, contrary to the more comfortable and reductive ways of rigorism and laxism." I may be all wet in what I am about to write, but this seed has been growing in my mind for almost a year now. Is it possible that Francis is more competent than we give him credit for? Is it possible that the rigorism and laxism that he repeatedly refers to is directed towards those prelates who are lax with discipline but rigorous in their discrimination against orthodox Catholics?

  • Posted by: skall391825 - May. 09, 2017 2:21 PM ET USA

    "... Italy’s only diocesan seminary entrusted to the care of Jesuits...." What possibly could go wrong?!