ignatian spirituality & creativity

Like Saint Ignatius of Loyola, we can find God through our imaginations.

Ignatius of Loyola encountered God through his imagination. Wounded from war, confined to bed, he had no other option. As he daydreamed about his former life — winning wars and wooing women — he found himself feeling empty.

That’s when God stepped in. Ignatius wound up imagining himself living a holy life instead. He realized his daydreams about a life of virtue left him feeling consoled long after he had imagined them. This was Ignatius’ first spiritual insight. It came to him through his imagination — and changed his life forever.

Ignatius’ discovery is just as true and relevant for us. God communicates through our imaginations, too. This truth is at the heart of Ignatius’ “The Spiritual Exercises.” This compilation of prayers and meditations invites you to imagine yourself in Gospel scenes, to see, touch, taste, smell and hear the experiences of Jesus and his friends.

Then, Ignatius says, pay attention to what effect this immersion has on your heart. Trust that the Lord can work through your own imagination as God did through Ignatius’ daydreaming.

The Ignatian tradition holds that God is to be found in all things. This way of seeing the world has led generations of Jesuits and lay collaborators to make, consume and analyze culture: literature and poetry, film and theatre, painting and photography, podcasts and graphic design. These are all places in which we encounter God.

We are made in the image and likeness of God-who-creates. It only makes sense that our own imaginative, creative impulses are distinctively human and can manifest God’s love, compassion and peace in our world.

The Jesuit Media Lab exists to inspire creativity in the Ignatian tradition.

Ignatian spirituality is an extraordinary resource for the creative life: It helps artists pay better attention to the sacred in everyday experiences. It inspires wonder and awe when facing a nasty case of writer’s block. It leads creators to discover what is most important in a creative endeavor, making our work stronger and more meaningful.

The Jesuit Media Lab lives at the intersection of Ignatian spirituality and creativity. We offer courses, webinars, retreats, reading groups, educational resources and more to help you leverage the tools of Ignatian spirituality for your creative life. We do this because when creators drink from the well of Ignatian spirituality, beautiful things happen.