There may be some of you who are familiar with the work of the Jesuit monk Saint Ignatius of Loyola!
If you are, then well done you!
I will hold my hands up and admit that until very recently, I didn’t have a clue who he was.
Over the next few blogs, I invite you to join me in finding out a little bit more about his life and the difference he made in the lives of others.
Ignatius, or Inigo as he was originally known, was born in 1491 to a fairly well-off family in Spain. He joined the military in his late teens and, there’s no nice way to put it, was a ‘bit of a lad!’ Inigo had an eye for the ladies, was known for his vanity and fancy clothes, and was frustrated at the lack of action he had seen on the battlefield. When Inigo finally reached the frontlines, the Spanish troops were outnumbered. Rather than surrender, Inigo rallied the troops with devastating results. Instead of fame, Inigo left the battlefield with a shattered leg and a bruised ego. Despite the lack of anaesthetic, he asked for his leg to be re-broken and set so that his limp would be less obvious.
Can you imagine how painful that would be?
For Inigo, appearance was everything.
So what changed?
Inigo went into a period of extended lockdown which I’m sure we can all relate to! Without endless boxsets to get him through the boredom, Inigo would lay in bed daydreaming. Being the romantic he was, he would dream of rescuing damsels in distress and living a life as a nobleman in service to the King. This soon wore thin and he asked for something to read. Reluctantly he settled down to read the only two books in the house: the Life of Christ by Ludolph of Saxony and the Golden Legend which gave an account of the lives of the Saints. This was far away from Inigo’s usual reading material but the experience changed him forever.
Inigo’s daydreams began to change.
When he placed himself in the fantasy world of knights and castles he was left empty.
When he placed himself in the world of the saints, living their life for Christ, he noticed a sense of peace and joy.
Are you a daydreamer?
Do you look at the lives of others and imagine what it would be like to be them for a day?
What kind of lives are you drawn to?
Due to circumstances beyond his control, Inigo was forced to sit with his own thoughts, with no distractions, and with the life of Christ as his only focus. This was the start of a spiritual journey that would change him forever.
Imagine the kind of relationship we could have with God if we cut out the distractions, filled our minds with the teaching of Jesus, and spent our time daydreaming about serving Him rather than serving ourselves. Inigo didn't stay in daydreaming mode, and neither should we, but his time daydreaming with God changed the direction of his life forever. As we learn more about Inigo, I hope he will challenge you to take a step back from the busyness of life and take time out to daydream with God.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”