I'm having a very burning desire to join the priesthood, and I'm intending doing it after my required 4 years college. I have loved the Jesuit order even before I joined the Catholic Church for the charisma, their desire for knowledge, and their love for sciences. But I also need to know about their sense of spirituality? Often we hear people talk about Jesuits as professors, philosophers, or scientists, but what about their spirituality? Is their spirituality as great as the ancient Benedictine? Or the suffering Franciscan? Or the rosary of the Dominican? What is the spirituality of the Jesuit order anyway?
Ignatian Spirituality, which the Jesuits follow, is based on the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. St. Ignatius has many writings, but the center of Ignatian Spirituality is the Examen Prayer, which is taught during the third week of Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. Basically, the Exercises help to develop a deeper relationship with God, and the Examen is a prayer that is used to help listen to God speaking in our everyday lives. All Jesuits complete a retreat of the Exercises prior to their ordination, and then again every 7 years (usually this is a 30 day silent retreat, though it can be done in about 30 weeks, taking an hour to an hour and a half each day for silent meditations). I was blessed to have the opportunity to complete three retreats of the Exercises in the past, and my prayer life has been greatly shaped by St. Ignatius. It should be noted, that you really do need a retreat director and a spiritual director to do the Exercises. St. Ignatius’ writings are a guide and it is important to have someone who is knowledgeable lead you through these Exercises, especially as you learn Ignatian meditation.
There is some good information about Ignatian Spirituality here ignatianspirituality.com/
I encourage you to speak with a Jesuit about Ignatian Spirituality in his everyday life.