According to O'Neal, a priest who wrote the life of St. Ignatius, "Eventually he found himself at the age of 30 in May of 1521 as an officer defending the fortress of the town of Pamplona against the French, who claimed the territory as their own against Spain" (O'Neal). In addition, O'Neal described how this battle had caused an injury almost fatal as told by the doctors. Ignatius's injury was not healed in spite of his medication. It was a turning point in his life when while recovering from his injury, he spent his time reading religious material that included the life of Christ and a book about the saints. However, had there been romance novels he would have chosen to pass his time reading those of his earthly interests rather than the religious materials. But because of this, he got glued on reading the religious materials. His conversion was slowly taking place.
"He noticed, however, that after reading and thinking of the saints and Christ he was at peace and satisfied. Yet when he finished his long daydreams of his noble lady, he would feel restless and unsatisfied. Not only was this experience the beginning of his conversion, it was also the beginning of spiritual discernment, or discernment of spirits, which is associated with Ignatius and described in his Spiritual Exercises" (O'Neal).
Upon Ignatius's recovery, as stated by O'Neal, "The Exercises recognize that not only the intellect but also the emotions and feelings can help us come to knowledge of the action of the Spirit in our lives. Eventually, completely converted from his old desires and plans of romance and worldly conquests, and recovered from his wounds enough to travel, he left the castle in March of 1522." Ignatius decided to go to Jerusalem. As told by O'Neal, he got fully converted in Barcelona, and as he continued his journey, he had a stopover in a town called Manresa, and spent ten months working in a hospice, and pray for hours each day. O'Neal also illustrated that Ignatius's experience at Manresa resulted to the work most commonly known as the 'Spiritual Exercises'.
O'Neal added that when Ignatius returned to Spain, he went to several schools and universities. He became as priest in Paris, and joined a group which later became the Society of Jesus, a community of followers of the Pope, founded by Ignatius. His correspondence Fr. Polanco had helped him in writing his letters to the Society. During his last years, Ignatius spent his time teaching the Spiritual Exercises. "Ignatius was beatified on July 27, 1609 and canonized by Pope Gregory XV on March 12, 1622 together with St. Francis Xavier. Ignatius' feast day is celebrated by the universal church and the Jesuits on July 31, the day he died" (O'Neal).
The Main Themes of the Writings of St. Ignatius
The main themes of Ignatius's writings had focused on how to live as Christians following the path Christ had took. The vows of obedience, charity and ministry, and spiritual nourishment were practiced and passed on to others. His writings exuded his spiritual practices in all ways as shown in all his letters to the priests, friends, and family members. He mainly wrote to communicate within the community of the Jesuits. "He was overly kind and gentle with those who gave him the most problems. On the other hand, with those who were the holiest and humblest, he seemed at times to be too harsh, obviously because