Sensing the Word: Reading the Bible in the Ignatian spiritual tradition

Gemma Simmonds CJ, Director of the Religious Life Institute at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, shows how reading the Bible using Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises can lead to a fresh encounter with the Risen Christ.

‘We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it […] – we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.’1

The author of the first letter of John shows himself eager to share his joyful, personal response to the good news of God’s Incarnation in Jesus Christ. He has come to this response through knowing the Word made flesh in his own body and senses. He has seen, touched and been in intimate relationship with the only Son of the Eternal Father, and it is this experience that he wishes to share with others. His concrete encounter with the living God via his bodily senses is an encounter which has led to faith and to lifelong discipleship, following Christ as friend and companion.

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