Each Individual Ignatian is Treasured as an Individual
In accord with the providential designs of God who has blessed each man with individual gifts that He wills to be unfolded to the maximum – as Our Divine Lord reminded us in the Parable of the Talents ‒ the Society of Ignatians will energetically do everything possible to help each member to develop his qualities of nature and grace to the maximum.
Firstly by personalized attention through guidance.
Secondly by tailoring studies and methods of study to his needs.
Thirdly by seeking to assign to him those projects that he can most effectively accomplish. Within the high levels of Ignatian commitment to obedience, every effort – under a sense of grave duty binding on superiors- to ensure that each one is where his God-given talents will render the most ad majorem Dei gloriam.
While the goal and the plan are the same for everyone the strategy is custom-made to each individual Ignatian candidate according to his own personality.
Each candidate therefore prepares his own program of equipping assisted by:
‒ Spiritual Direction: the Spiritual Director being a master of the two thousand year old traditions of Christian ascetical and mystical principles
‒ The Particular Examen: according to the method of St. Ignatius Loyola
‒ One on one relationship with his Ignatian formators whose lives are utterly at the service of their brothers in Christ and in the Society, the Ignatian candidates. For the Ignatian formator, true to his priestly identity, strives to be a true mentor to souls, acting in a godly manner to respect the individuality of each person. As Henri Ghéon, speaking about St. John Vianney, wrote:
“And each soul, if it is to attain to the best that is in it, must have individual treatment.
Every soul is a special case. Just as in the whole of creation there are no two blades of grass alike, even so — and with more reason — there are no two souls alike — since the simplest of them is created by a new and always different act of the infinite and infinitely diverse will of God.
Then each is flung into the world and instantly swept up into a network of incidents and influences which go to increase the diversity that is there by nature.
All this, unfortunately, is a field of which professed psychologists cannot realize either the mysteries or the riches. The deepest and most subtle of them — Montaigne, La Rochefoucauld, Rivarol or Stendhal —even Proust or Gide — are mere children compared with the confessor who takes his work seriously knowing that his own salvation and other men’s will depend on the way he does it. They ply their art on paper—and paper will put up with anything. And after all, the consequences do not concern them.
Further, the more important part of their science escapes them, the part which discerns in the soul what truly belongs to it and what does not, what movements are from within, what movements are from without, and among these last which come from the devil and which come from God.
Nor can they know with what capacity for faith and love a particular soul has been endowed, nor what precise means of sanctification is foreseen for it in the divine plan.
While they ignore, and make a point of ignoring, the virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and the whole activity of the supernatural life, they will only skim the surface of man — one half of man’s secret will always escape them.
By infused grace the Curé d’Ars possessed to the very highest degree that human and divine science which can balance in one account the nature common to all men, the loss inflicted on all men alike by original sin, the individuality of each nature, the evil influences brought to bear upon it, the heavenly protections there for its defence, and all that grace can do to nourish the life of God in the very depths of the soul.” (Henri Ghéon, The Secret of the Curé d’Ars)
Thus, the Ignatian, aided by his mentors, will strive to emulate him of whom St. Gregory Nazianzen once said: “He was a priest before he was a priest”.