No matter the mission of the Ignatian he lives it intensely with the focus of a man committed to the most necessary and important mission a man can have in this life: the honor of God and the eternal salvation of souls as Alter Christus.
Although Ignatians aim to be on the front lines for the Church amid the bustling centers of the world’s megalopolises and the high-tech society of the Third Millennium, they will live and act with the purposeful focus of a lifestyle bonding the intense prayer, silence, and intellectual concentration of the monk with the intense outreach to souls of the missionary.
All of the Ignatian’s time is for this double component of the “one thing necessary” (Lk 10:42).
Thus, the clearest way to describe the Ignatian lifestyle in a way understandable to our contemporaries is to say that we are “missionary monks”.
In this way we are in continuity with two thousand years of saintly priests who, no matter their order or diocese, always earnestly dedicated their time – all their time – for the supreme mission of the salvation of souls.
Ignatians will thus follow, amidst the different circumstances of the Church and the Third Millennium, in the long line of missionary monks who converted Europe to the Catholic Faith during the Dark Ages – men such as Martin, Patrick, Columbanus, Columba, Augustine of Canterbury, Aidan of Lindisfarne, Boniface, and so many others.
They will live by the axiom of all the priests who have ever built up up the Church: “contemplata aliis tradere”, to transmit to others the truths that have been personally contemplated in prayer and study.
The Society of Ignatians will in this way also be loyal to the charism of Saint Ignatius of Loyola who although he established an order that in 1540 that was sharply “non-monastic” because of the fact that its members were not required to pray the divine office in community still lived an intensely prayerful lifestyle.
The members all prayed the traditional Divinum Officium which requires more time than the contemporary version instituted in 1970. Besides, they had several other prayers, notably the “particular examen”. The rest of their day was exclusively dedicated to outreach to Catholics and non-Catholics, with detachment from self-seeking and distractions and with passion for souls that made them living emblems of the Society’s motto: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!
May the Most Holy Trinity grant that the Society of Ignatians follow in their footsteps, continuing the tradition that for centuries built up the Mystical Body of Christ and populated the shores of Heaven.