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St. Ignatius’ Synodality and the Spiritual Exercises
The term “synodality” does not appear in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. However, a closer look at the method and dynamics of the Exercises reveals some key aspects of a spirituality that sustains synodality. The Synod on Synodality initiated by Pope Francis has prompted a re-reading and revisiting of the fundamental Christian sources, revealing several insights that contribute to the emergence of a spirituality oriented in this direction. In this article we will look with fresh eyes at the Spiritual Exercises to see if they contain a spirituality of synodality.

The Synod on Synodality emphasizes three terms: “participation,” “communion” and “mission,” as set out by the International Theological Commission in the document “Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church” (SLMC). Synodality is an essential dimension of the Church, which is synodal in a constitutive and not an incidental way. This vision was present in the early Church, but over the centuries other concepts have assumed greater prominence. Vatican II, in the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium (LG), restored an ancient model of the Church, that of the pilgrim people of God.

Chapter 4 of SLMC, entitled “Conversion to Renew Synodality,” emphasizes the need to acquire a new consciousness of being Church. It is not enough to know conceptually that the Church is synodal; a further and more important step needs to be taken: Christians have to feel that they are being synodal, that is, actively participating in the life of the Church.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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