St. Ignatius is a good example of what the Lord is saying through Jeremiah the prophet today. Just like the potter, God can and does form and re-form us all through our lives, becoming ourselves more and more like the potter, more and more one with the potter’s actions.
St. Ignatius was all set to accomplish great things in the military when his leg was badly injured by a canon ball. As he was convalescing, he asked for romantic novels to read. But nothing like that was available, so he had to settle for books on the life of Christ and the lives of the saints. Reading them, he noticed that those books made him feel differently than the romance novels he was used to. He noted that the pleasure those books provided was fleeting, but that the joy he felt in reading the spiritual books stayed with him, and so he pursued the Christian life and began a process of conversion.
During this time of conversion, he began to write things down, and these writings served for a later work, his greatest work, the Spiritual Exercises. These Exercises became the basis for the Society of Jesus, which he formed with six others to live a life of poverty and chastity and apostolic work for the pope. This was accepted by Paul III and Ignatius was elected its first general.
Ignatius’s motto was Ad majorem Dei gloria: All for the glory of God. His Spiritual Exercises have become a spiritual classic and have provided the basis rule for other religious orders over time, including Sr. Anne’s community, the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We can wish Sr. Anne a happy feast day today!
Ignatius’s life changed like the clay in the hands of the potter. We have lots of those experiences too, and blessed are we when we accept them as enthusiastically as St. Ignatius did!