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5 Inspirational Quotes From St. Ignatius of Loyola

Who would have guessed that such sayings from centuries past would remain applicable in today’s world? 

Soldier, priest, co-founder of the Society of Jesus—St. Ignatius of Loyola was all these and more. 

He was also an insightful man, compiling his thoughts, meditations, and prayers in the book Spiritual Exercises, and giving us much food for thought in numerous sayings, like the five quotes listed here. 

In honor of his feast day this Friday, July 31, we reflect on the timelessness and relevance of five of his most popular thoughts. Who would have guessed that such sayings from centuries past would remain applicable in today’s world? 

“Go forth and set the world on fire.” 

st-ignatius-of-loyola-life-lessons
Photo from Loyola Press / Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City

This quote (specifically, its Latin equivalent, “ite, infammate omnia”) was supposedly how St. Ignatius ended his letters to the Jesuits. He didn’t mean it literally, of course, but rather figuratively, urging Jesuits to spread the Word of God wholeheartedly and with passion and zeal.   

We can go forth and set the world on fire, too. Is there something you are good at or love to do so much that you can lose yourself doing it all day? Whatever your gift—be it singing, cooking, crafts, volunteering, or taking care of people—do it happily and with all your heart. You just might inspire others to do the same! (Read: Heart Evangelista Starts Initiative to Help Students in Distance Learning)

“Love is shown more in deeds than in words.” 

st-ignatius-of-loyola-life-lessons
Photo from Loyola Press / Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City

Remember the old clichés “Actions speak louder than words” and “Easier said than done?” Same principle. Sure, it’s nice to hear those three little words. But it’s even better to experience them through the actions of the person who said it. 

So say “I love you” when you can—but prove it, too, with simple but heartfelt deeds like helping someone in need, listening to a friend with a problem, or making time to be with a person who needs company. (Read: 5 Easy Ways to ‘Be There’ For A Loved One With Depression)

“Act as if everything depended on you; trust as if everything depended on God.” 

st-ignatius-of-loyola-life-lessons
Photo from Loyola Press / Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City

This insight is akin to the Filipino saying, “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa” and another oft-quoted dictum, “God helps those who help themselves.” 

To get something done, don’t just pray and sit around waiting for results. Do all that you can to the best of your abilities, asking God for His guidance—then step back and trust that He will do the rest.   

“Speak little, listen much.” 

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Photo from Loyola Press / Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City

In our world, everybody wants to be heard—whether it’s to express an opinion, unsolicited advice, or the latest gossip. 

Why don’t you try listening for a change? Listening to someone means you care enough to give them your undivided attention and time. Listening to that voice inside your head, meanwhile, allows you to “hear” yourself with no judgment and make decisions based on careful thought. (Read: Bishop Urges Government Leaders to ‘Talk Less, Listen More’)

“He who carries God in his heart bears heaven with him wherever he goes.”

st-ignatius-of-loyola-life-lessons
Photo from Loyola Press / Ignatian Spirituality Center of Kansas City

It’s a reassuring thought whenever we find ourselves anxious, sad, lonely, or afraid. When God is in our hearts, what more do we need?       

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