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

Ignatian Spiritual Perception

n the Memoriale of St Peter Faber, an inward path can be noticed during the period from late summer 1542 until May 1543. Despite periods of melancholy, there were some outstanding periods whereby he spoke more and more about having “spiritual perception” which he calls devotion. Most probably he got this from Ignatius of Loyola who accompanied him.

Peter Faber wrote on this deep spiritual insight on 12 August 1542 as “an immediate knowledge with the loving understanding of the divine—especially of God the Lord himself and the free gifts of his goodness, which make man pleasing to his creator...” (No 81).

But we have to know "spiritual perception" always as both gift and art. It is a gift in the sense that it is a deep inner resource which is always God's work. God alone is its source. It is not just any kind of perception but it falls within the deepest spiritual level that underlies all of reality. Inextricably, it is also an art because it is externally perceived, acknowledged, incarnated, expressed and felt in multifaceted forms of emotions aka as consolations and desolations.

St Ignatius of Loyola writes in his book The Spiritual Exercises about the first method of making a sound and good election. This is one of the most important application of "spiritual perception."
Spiritual Exercises 179: The Second Point. It is necessary to keep as my objective the end for which I am created, to praise God our Lord and save my soul. Furthermore, I ought to find myself indifferent, that is, without any disordered affection, to such an extent that I am not more inclined or emotionally disposed toward taking the matter proposed rather than relinquishing it, nor more toward relinquishing it rather than taking it. Instead, I should find myself in the middle, like the pointer of a balance, in order to be ready to follow that which I shall perceive to be more to the glory and praise of God our Lord and the salvation of my soul.

Spiritual Exercises 179: The Third Point. I should beg God our Lord to be pleased to move my will and to put into my mind what I ought to do in regard to the matter proposed, so that it will be more to his praise and glory. I should beg to accomplish this by reasoning well and faithfully with my intellect, and by choosing in conformity with his most holy will and good pleasure.
Ignatian spiritual perception is necessary to arrive at a sound and good election. In the absence of it the other and equally necessary virtue is Ignatian spiritual indifference. It is like a pointer or transmitter that connects with the perceiver. Any transceiver for it to function normally it must have stability in all aspects. Likewise, retreatants should possess psychological and emotional stability, i.e., emotional strength, physical well-being, and mental health are emphasized. Issues like grief, stress, depression, and burnout need to be addressed because they can cloud the retreatant's spiritual perception. Fr JM Manzano SJ