"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)

[1/9] Novena of Grace: "I beg for the grace to make space, a listening space"

Peter Paul Rubens: Ignatius gives his fine clothes to a beggar


Battle of Pamplona to Loyola

n July 1521, a 30-year-old Basque knight, named Iñigo was brought home to recuperate after his cannonball experience in the battle of Pamplona—his watershed moment. The wounds on his lower limbs led to the first long lockdown in his life, about nine months, during which he read the Life of Christ and a book on the lives of the saints entitled Golden Legend or Flowers of the Saints, the only books available for reading in the Loyola castle. He also killed time by recalling tales of martial valor and by day-dreaming about a great lady who captured his heart. Later when he was out of mortal danger, his attention was centered on the saints. This profoundly moved and attracted him that soon after he had barely recovered he resolved to do something about his many sins. To fulfill this he must embark on a journey towards conversion. He followed the holy austerities of the saints, e.g. Francis of Assisi, Dominic and Onuphrius, that God sent as his first spiritual guides in his lifelong task towards holiness.

From Loyola to Manresa

In February 1522 Iñigo bade farewell to his family and went to a place of pilgrimage in Montserrat, northeastern Spain where he offered chivalrous vigil of arms before the Blessed Virgin Mary. On March 25, 1522, Iñigo descended from Montserrat to Manresa where he settled and lived for eleven months inside a cave. Such a prolonged stay in Manresa was not part of his original plan.

From Manresa to Jerusalem

What had been in the mind and imagination of Iñigo all this time? It was something that he picked up from reading and re-reading the books about saintly lives, i.e., to live such a life himself but as a pilgrim in Holy Land. In his preface, Ludolph of Saxony, a Carthusian monk, wrote: “Contemplating the Holy Land is certainly a holy and pious exercise […] Who can narrate how the devotees walk through each of these places and, with their spirit inflamed, kiss the earth, venerate and embrace the places where they know and learn that Our Lord was, or has left, or has done something?”

In fact the unforeseen stay in Manresa led Iñigo to modify the original project and it seemed that he became even more hell-bent not only to go to Jerusalem but to settle there for good. Iñigo arrived in Rome on Palm Sunday, March 29, 1523 (AB 39). Two days later, he obtained pontifical authorization from the Penitentiary to “personally visit… the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord and some other Holy Places overseas.” The document was found in 1956.

We begin today the first day of our Novena of Grace in honor of St Ignatius of Loyola. We retrace the footsteps of the pilgrim when he embarked on a life-changing, far-reaching and intense journey exactly 500 years ago.

Grace to beg for: "I beg for the grace to make space, a listening space"

Suggested Scripture passage to ponder: John 20:1-2, 11-18—"Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" (Gospel reading on the feast of St Mary Magdalen)

'TODAY, IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS'—EVER IN SCRIPTURE, IT IS THE HEART THAT PRAYS. In today's featured reading, what word or phrase from God speaks to me?—PONDER—LISTEN—THANK—SURRENDER. I contemplate God's word and then end with the OUR FATHER...

Repeat this prayer for nine successive days.

Suscipe (Prayer by St Ignatius)

ake, O Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding and my entire will. All I have and call my own. Thou hast given all to me, to Thee, O Lord, I return it. Everything belongs to Thee; do with it as Thou wilt. Give me only the love of Thee and with it Thy grace, that is enough for me. Amen.

With St Ignatius we pray:

oul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise Thee
Forever and ever.


St Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.


  1. Thank you, Fr. Jom, for your sharing... Today, I fell into deep reflection and silence...
    I happened to remember also the poem, a prayer, in which I wrote last week while I was meditating in our rooftop overlooking the wide horizon of the sea... I would like to share it then with you...

    Where can I meet you, O Lord my God

    Where can I meet you, O Lord, my God...
    In the waves of my emotions
    Endless happiness
    Sadness that makes me weep
    Deep silence that brings different thoughts and sentiments

    Where can I meet you, O Lord, my God...
    In the shore of my heart
    A serene smile of a person
    By the bonfire that gives me warmth
    A friend who makes me feel loved

    Where can I meet you, O Lord, my God...
    In the shadows of my past,
    Experiences that bring me so much joy
    A mistake that makes me grow
    The pain of losing a loved one

    Where can I meet you, O Lord, my God....
    In the clouds of my mind
    Different forms and shapes that dance swaying back and forth
    Birds that fly without a place to rest
    In the sunset where light and darkness meet

    Where can I meet you, O Lord, my God....
    In the horizon of my life
    Where the heights of the sky and the depths of the ocean convene...
    When there is harmony, all is in peace...
    And the whispering of the gentle breeze seems to say,
    " All shall be well... Have faith in me... I am with you 'til the end..."
    Oh, and Yes! Indeed, You are here...

    1. Thank you for sharing your poem inspired by your love for the Lord! I can see your closeness to him for you can find Jesus in everything! And Jesus comes to us through everything! GBU!😇


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