A Closer Look at an Ignatian Spirituality of Citizenship

By Michael P Murphy

Classrooms are places to learn the art of dialogue. We have solid resources, such as Ignatius Loyola’s advice to the Jesuits at the Council of Trent in 1546, which includes this pedagogical gold: Spirituality of Citizenship 101:

  • learn the surpassing worth of conversation; be slow of speech;
  • pay attention to the whole person;
  • understand the meaning, learnings, and wishes of those who speak;
  • be free of prejudice; argue from authority cautiously;
  • quote important persons only if arranged beforehand;
  • consider the reasons on both sides without showing attachment to your own opinion;
  • be modest when you are certain;
  • choose to speak at the other’s convenience even when certain;
  • give conversation the time that it needs.
  St. Ignatius of Loyola, taken at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre - Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and is featured here courtesy of  Randy OHC of the Flickr Creative Commons . 

St. Ignatius of Loyola, taken at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre - Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and is featured here courtesy of Randy OHC of the Flickr Creative Commons

Ignatian adds that 

Finally, if some point of human or divine science is under discussion and I have something to say, it will be of great help to forget about my own leisure or lack of time – that is, my own convenience. I should rather accommodate myself to the convenience of him with whom I am to deal so that I may influence him to God’s greater glory.

Click here for the full text "Dealing With Others," Ignatius's Letter to Fathers Attending the Council of Trent in 1546.