Nonviolent Cross

Proposal for a Workshop on Ignatian Spiritualty and Creative Nonviolence

This workshop will explore the life of St. Ignatius, his early companions and the Spiritual Exercises and connect them with what we now call “creative nonviolence”, as expressed in the life and writings of proponents of nonviolence such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Thomas Merton.

At the heart of Ignatian Spirituality and creative nonviolence is the grace to accept all wrongs, rejections, and poverty with the power of love and forgiveness. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.”

After his conversion, Ignatius traveled to Montserrat to surrender his sword to the Black Madonna. He took on the life of a beggar working with the poorest of the poor in Manresa. In his visions he saw himself as placed with Jesus carrying the cross. The cross is the symbol of nonviolence and of the self-surrender called for in Ignatian Spirituality. In the writings of Ignatius and his early companions we find examples of how to respond to violence and to keep an allegiance to God over State.

The spirit of nonviolence pervades the Spiritual Exercises. Examples are contained in the First Principle and Foundation, the prayer of the second week (98), the three degrees of humility, the passion and death in the third week and the Contemplation On the Love of God. The Spiritual Exercises are a way to “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. (Gandhi)

We will talk about ways to apply the power of this spirituality in our present day. Writings of Jesuit martyrs in El Salvador and the teachings of values in our Jesuit universities will be used to stimulate conversation. Participants will be invited to interact and share on this topic and how it relates to everyday life.

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