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What kinds of signs does God use to show his will? Pope reflects

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Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/24/21

Francis looks at the life of St. Ignatius, a master in finding God's will.

The Society of Jesus and the many other Christian faithful who have been inspired by the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola are celebrating a jubilee year marking the 500th anniversary of the saint’s conversion.

It started this week and ends next July, on the feast day of the saint.

Pope Francis, who is himself a Jesuit, sent a video message for the beginning of the celebration, in which he reflects on finding God’s will.

Discernment, or the process of discovering God’s voice in the midst of our own thoughts, or even in contrast to the voice of the devil, is one of the key ideas in Ignatius’ thought, and one of the main elements of his legacy in the Church.

The Pope noted how in the life of Ignatius, it was a cannonball that changed the course of his life, “and the course of the world.”

That cannonball also meant that Ignatius failed in the dreams he had for his life. But God had a bigger dream for him. […] It was a dream of redemption, a dream of going out into the world, accompanied by Jesus, humble and poor.

The Holy Father went on to reflect on conversion, saying it is a “daily occurrence. Rarely is it once and for all. Ignatius’ conversion began in Pamplona, but it did not end there. He converted throughout his life, day after day.”

“This means,” the Pope said, “that throughout his life he put Christ at the center.”

And for this, he used discernment.

“Discernment does not consist in always succeeding from the beginning, but in navigating and having a compass in order to be able to set out on the path, which has many twists and turns, but always allowing oneself to be guided by the Holy Spirit, who leads us to the encounter with the Lord.”

In this process, God communicates through others, or through situations, such as that cannonball.

These others are signs that help us to stay on course and who invite us to convert again and again. They are brothers, they are situations, and God also speaks to us through them. Listen to others. Read situations.

We are road signs for others, we too, showing God’s way.

Conversion is always done in dialogue, in dialogue with God, in dialogue with others, in dialogue with the world.

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