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Pope Francis
13 March 2013 was the date of the historic election of the first Jesuit pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ took the name of Francis and in the five years since, he has captured headlines, imaginations and hearts worldwide. Nicholas Austin SJ looks at one of the foundation stones of Francis’ papacy and, indeed, his life as a Jesuit: discernment. What, according to Pope Francis, does it mean to be a discerning Christian? When Pope Francis was asked, in the famous interview published by Thinking...
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A new audio resource, Women of God, Women of the Cross, from the Jesuits in Britain introduces you to the women who encountered Jesus during his passion. Using our senses to enter into their stories as we listen to them is not an end in itself, says Gemma Simmonds CJ. The application of the senses, as Ignatius calls it, is an instrument of prayer and discernment, and one that extols faculties that have been – and, too often, still are – associated with women and disparaged. Of all the ways...
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The writings of Ignatius of Loyola are not the only texts to which we can turn as we seek to understand and practise discernment. The authors of the New Testament, as they sought to explore what it meant for God to have revealed himself in Christ, had plenty to say about how we can discover where God is, and is not, at work in our lives. Nicholas King SJ identifies certain passages that can aid our Lenten study of discernment. The pope is currently asking the Church to do something at...
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‘In today’s world, hunger, violence and poverty cannot be understood apart from the changes and degradation affecting the environment.’ Pope Francis’ recognition of this led him to introduce an eighth work of mercy in 2016: ‘care for our common home’. Anna Rowlands and Robert Czerny survey the long and living tradition in which this new work of mercy stands. In his message for the 2016 World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, Show Mercy to our Common Home, Pope Francis surprised many...
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It was precisely an exercise in discernment of spirits that enabled Rob Marsh SJ to offer this Ignatian introduction to the practice that will be the focus of our attention this Lent. Join him in a careful consideration of ‘one particular microsecond of one particular life, and one paragraph of many where Ignatius catalogues the way the good and bad spirit work’, and see an example of Ignatian discernment at work. Just a microsecond of my day:I am looking at my computer and hesitating to...
Photo of woman on bench by Grant MacDonald at flickr.com
Are you familiar with The Way, another journal published by the Jesuits in Britain? Since 1961, The Way has been publishing articles about Christian spirituality, such as this piece by Tom Shufflebotham SJ on the place of the prayer of faith in the Ignatian tradition. Thinking Faith will be offering you one article from each future issue of The Way - why not explore the journal further? When I was 27, my Provincial inflicted me as a teacher – untrained – on schoolboys in Rhodesia/...
Nativity scene
Contemplating the Nativity, for St Ignatius, is not just a cerebral exercise; engaging with the mystery of the Incarnation requires all of our senses. Teresa White FCJ considers how our meeting with the gentle Christ child can effect a powerful transformation in us if are alive to the many ways in which we can receive the gift of his coming. Ignatius of Loyola, at the beginning of the Second Week of his Spiritual Exercises, encourages the practice of what he calls ‘the application of the...
Pope Francis’ concern about the wording of the Lord’s Prayer has generated plenty of debate, and if that makes us more attentive to the working of the Spirit then we should embrace it. However, we ought not to be seeking a perfect translation, says Nicholas King SJ, with support from this Sunday’s second reading. ‘The function of the divine Word is to set us free, not enslave us.’ You have to be careful about words. There have been ruffled feathers in the past week because the pope...
Edmund Campion and Evelyn Waugh
How did the patron saint of the Jesuits in Britain, who was martyred on 1 December 1581, transform the life of one England’s most celebrated authors nearly 400 years later? Gerard Kilroy, the co-editor of a new edition of Evelyn Waugh's Edmund Campion, describes the motivations behind and evolution of Waugh’s ‘work of imaginative literature’.  Thomas More and John Fisher were canonised by Pope Pius XI on 19 May 1935; in the same month, Evelyn Waugh finished writing his gripping...
birds in flight
Defining the qualities of an Ignatian leader is an all but impossible task, says Sarah Broscombe, and so it should be, because Ignatian leadership cannot be reduced to, ‘a tidy theory with accompanying tools and practices. It is a disposition of mind, heart and will.’ There are, however, certain traits that can usefully act as ‘compass bearings’ for those who want to understand what leadership means in the Ignatian tradition. What is your gut reaction when you hear the word ‘leadership’?...

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