Special Saturday Round: Vote for Ignatius!

Lent Madness 2012 This is the only Saturday during Lent that will offer us an opportunity to vote in Lent Madness. And it’s a tough call for me today: Ignatius of Antioch, one of the earliest figures of the church in the post-apostolic era, or Ignatius of Loyola, whose method of prayer and discernment, known as Ignatian spirituality, is a treasure of the universal church. (Oh, and he founded the Jesuits, too.)

On the one hand, I’m very inclined to foster greater awareness of the very early Christian writers and writings. There’s a tendency among Christians, especially our separated sisters and brothers ;), to act as if the Bible is the only witness that matters. The Bible is a privileged and normative witness, surely; but early writers such as Ignatius of Antioch are also important witnesses in the Christian story. Writing at a time before the New Testament canon had even been defined, these early Christians help us to see the continuity between our time and the time of the apostles. Their writings provide critical insight into the shapes and structures of the early church communities.

On the other hand, the Ignatian method of discernment is, according to one of my professors, essentially the only well-developed theology of discernment that the church possesses. Given the profound importance of discernment in the Christian life, this is huge. And I have a special fondness for the daily prayer resource provided by the Irish Jesuits, Sacred Space.

So… I don’t know what to do! Fortunately I have all day to decide, and will be pondering as I read comments and tweets. I’d love comments from you, my dear readers: help me decide who to vote for, and don’t forget to head on over to Lent Madness and vote for Ignatius (one or the other) yourself.

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2 Responses to Special Saturday Round: Vote for Ignatius!

  1. Theophrastus says:

    If the question were posed as: which Ignatius has had a greater impact on the Church (or on the world) there really is no contest.

    And, if we say the Apostolic Fathers are important witnesses to the early Church, perhaps we can also say that important witnesses to the ongoing development of spirituality continued through later periods.

    • But if we posed the question that way, Theophrastus, then earlier saints would have a tremendous advantage over later ones. Not such a fair playing field! unless we matched in, er, era-segregated rounds?

      I like your second point, though.

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