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Maxims of St. Ignatius

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

The following quotations from a number of authentic sources express the mind of St. Ignatius on a variety of subjects suitable for prayer and reflection. Collections of Ignatian maxims go back to at least the beginning of the eighteenth century when Hevenesi first published his Scintillae Ignatianae, or “Sayings of St. Ignatius Arranged for Every Day of the Year.” More than once Pius XII urged the members of the Society to become deeply imbued with the spirit of St. Ignatius as sure means of fidelity to their religious life.

While the Constitutions and Spiritual Exercises are the main embodiment of this spirit, select statements from other writings, as given here, may offer useful material for meditation according to the second method of prayer.

Love of God

  1. Nothing is more pleasant than to love God, provided this love moves you to undergo many tribulations.

  2. Have always, as far as possible, God in your mind and your mind in God. Think of nothing, love nothing apart from Him, and whether alone or in public, never turn your eyes away from His. “Lord, what do I desire except You. What could I wish for besides You?”

  3. We should make more account of renouncing self-will than of raising others from the dead.

  4. We should not measure our spiritual progress by our deeds, our amiability, or our love of solitude, but by the violence we do ourselves.

  5. No creature can bring the soul such joy as comes from the Holy Spirit.

  6. Do not put faith in constant happiness, and fear most when all smiles upon you.

  7. If it were necessary to die a thousand times a day to save one soul, I should willingly agree to do so.

  8. The more alert a man is to the defects of others, the more negligent he is in observing his own.

  9. If you fear men beyond measure, you will never do anything great for God.

  10. There is nothing of which apostolic men have more need than interior recollection.

  11. There is no wood more suitable for constructing an altar of divine love than the wood of the holy cross.

  12. Experience usually teaches that there will be greater profit where there are more contradictions.

  13. The more desperate things seem, the more we must hope in God. Where human efforts fail, there before us waits the divine assistance.

  14. Few souls understand what God would affect in them if they should give themselves entirely into His hands and allow His grace to act.

Copyright © 1998 Inter Mirifica

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