31 July 2022, just a few days ago, Fr Arturo Sosa, the General of the Society
of Jesus, led the Society to celebrate the conclusion of the Ignatian Year in
Loyola. This year began in Pamplona on 20 May 2021, the fifth centenary of the injury
sustained by Ignatius of Loyola. In his final homily, Father General reminded
us of the thread which ran right through this anniversary: “to ask for the
grace to see all things new in Christ”, so that our gaze may be similar to that
of the Lord. Father General urged that our actions and decisions may be inspired
by that same will of the Father that Ignatius tirelessly sought and ultimately found.
The Ignatian Year was intended to be a spiritual pilgrimage. We were to learn
from the experience of our holy founder on his journey of conversion towards
For an institution like the Society, which has a centuries-long tradition behind it, this anniversary provided an opportunity to be not only grateful for the gifts received, but also to be ever more humble. In other words, it provided an opportunity to revisit and grow deeper into our Ignatian roots. But we do so with humility, lest carelessness lead our celebrating five centuries of history to vainglory and “habitual arrogance.”
The main demon to combat in this "year" was to become self-referential. We need to resist the temptation to make this anniversary an occasion for us to be “looked at and recognised”, rather than to allow ourselves to be looked at by the Lord. We need to prevent the memory of graces of this year from taking us to make sacred those spaces where the saint never “made his abode.” He passed through them as a pilgrim in a continuous unfolding towards God. We need to beware not to turn the centenary into a maelstrom of activities that would prevent us from focusing on the essentials, on the call to an affective conversion of heart. A true spiritual examen had to lie at the base of our journey through this year, so as not to become trapped in superficiality.