Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lost Voices of Mission ... Ignatius

"OK, I will not go as far as lighting a candle for him, but I wonder if Ignatius' voice in mission has been lost and the principles laid out for mission overlooked by us still protesting! "

Oddly, I'd not really considered Ignatius in terms of mission, Spiritual Formation yes, probably even frequently, but not in terms of mission. That was until reading Mooney's paper on 'Ignatian Spirituality, A Spirituality for Mission'. She makes her point well by pointing to a triad of features of mission that show how strongly orientated mission was to being, spiritually rooted in and fed by God, that it was personally motivated by love of God and all creation, and finally mission inspired by Ignatius was strategically-orientated toward pastoral action.

'In the spirit, from the heart, practically...' underpinned a desire to help others to know God's love and to draw people into the self same mission of sending love. Within this framework Mooney argues that the principles of Igantius are still very much identifiable in contemporary mission.
  • Grace and prayer are prior to all mission
  • The mysterious and large God is also, paradoxically, intimately close, a God who bursts forth in creation, enters into it through the incarnation, and continues the missio dei by acting through the lives of Christians.
  • Ignatian Spirituality is positively world affirming rather than world denying. Mission embraced secular culture as both a manifestation of and vehicle for God's grace.
  • An emblematic feature of Ignatian Spirituality that spilled into mission is that of 'finding God in all things'.
  • Simple but challenging for an excessively kudos driven approach to mission, is that of going where we are needed rather than places we want to need us.
  • People were made agents of their own growth, rather than a patronising project mentality.
  • The more universal the good is, the more is it divine - "Why do we want to love the poor, to help the lonely, to console the sad, to heal the sick and to bring freedom to the oppressed? Simply because this is what God does. Nothing else" (Society of Jesus, the decrees of the general congregation 2008)
As a Northern European not exposed to the rigours of the Counter Reformation, I guess I can look at these principles a little more dispassionately, than those whose heritage has been bruised and broken by the Jesuits chequered history and otherwise questionable techniques of mission. OK, I will not go as far as lighting a candle for him, but I wonder if Ignatius' voice in mission has been lost and the principles laid out for mission overlooked by us still protesting!

Mooney, C. M. (2009). Ignatian Spirituality, A Spirituality for Mission. Mission Studies, 26, 192 - 213.

2 comments:

Roy Stephens said...

After reading "Lost voices of mission" I would recommend getting a copy of "Talks with Officers" by General Bramwell Booth. I've just got a copy from www.bookwormalley.org.uk.

Having just started to read it after having a quick look through book the general makes it quite clear what direction we are expected to be going in. If there are any questions or doubts as to a SA officers role in God's plan then this book is a must read.

Gordon said...

Thanks Roy I'll check to see if it isin our library.