Introduction – The Heart of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola with Fr. Anthony Wieck S.J.
Fr. Anthony Wieck and Kris McGregor begin a new series centered around the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This episode introduces us to St. Ignatius and gives an overview of the events leading up to a pivotal moment in his life.
An excerpt from the conversation:
“St. Paul says all fatherhood comes from God, the father. Some of us have really not had good fatherhood examples. Everyone has a dad, but you don’t necessarily have a father when you grow up a biological father.
St. Ignatius is such a spiritual father. The root word, for instance, of a father exercising his authority, the root word of authority either comes from auctor, which means author or augere, A-U-G-E-R-E. Augere, which means to help flourish, to help thrive.
Like a farmer who had bend over the plant and offer the plant everything that it needs to thrive, water, sunlight, nutrients, so too any true fatherhood helps us to flourish. Experiencing St. Ignatius for me was an experience of his fatherhood and anyone, layperson or not, who prayed to St. Ignatius, begins to read St. Ignatius, when they experience full flourishing, he indeed might be their father. It’s amazing how that works.
I, for instance, had a personal desire to be a spiritual son of Padre Pio, whom I admire and still very much, but I am not a spiritual son of Padre Pio. I’ve tried many times, novenas and whatnot, and still admire him so greatly, and yet I know I’m not his spiritual son. That’s not the angle at which I’m supposed to follow Jesus. It’s a beautiful angle, I appreciate it very much, but it’s a different color of the rainbow, if you will.
It’s not the angle at which my heart flourishes as much as I will always admire him. I’ll always admire different saints as do you, Kris, but we have to find our particular charism. What is that particular saint, and there are various saints, not just one, who cause us to flourish. When we read their writings, oh, we just feel the fire of the Lord’s love entering into us and burning away the draws and giving us this zeal that’s very similar to their own, to surrender ourselves yet more to the Lord.”
Fr. Anthony Wieck is a Jesuit priest of the Central & Southern province. Sixth of nine children, raised on a farm in Oregon, Fr. Anthony began religious life in 1994, spending his first five years of formation in Rome, Italy, studying at the Casa Balthasar and the Gregorian. The former was under the watchful patronage of Pope Benedict XVI (then-Card. Joseph Ratzinger). Fr. Anthony currently acts as retreat master at White House Jesuit Retreat in St. Louis, Missouri. He also offers spiritual direction at the St. Louis diocesan seminary for 25 future priests there.