Anglican Primate Hails Ignatian Exercises
Any Christian who has done the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola “can never give up hope”, because in these exercises “we encounter the incarnational Christ”, Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the Jesuit Institute’s annual Ignatian Day in Johannesburg.
More that 150 people attended the day at which Archbishop Makgoba was the keynote speaker. The topic of his address was “Finding God in South Africa today”.
Archbishop Makgoba said that his experience of doing the 30-day retreat helped him realise what an “incarnation theology” really is.
“I could have read books and academic papers, but doing the Spiritual Exercises invited me to see, taste, touch and feel the Gospel, Christ, in a very real way”.
Archbishop Makgoba did the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius at the Jesuit Retreat House, St Beuno’s, in Wales.
He spoke about how, when doing the Spiritual Exercises, he was struck by the three questions which St Ignatius puts before the one doing the retreat: “What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What will I do for Christ?” He said that these questions should be on the heart and mind of every Christian today.
He told those gathered that it is God’s desire that all have life in abundance.
“This is what St Ignatius wants us to learn, that God desires we have life in abundance,” he said, quoting John 10:10.
State Capture ‘Very Much Still With Us’
The Anglican primate of South Africa lamented that after 25 years of democracy, the country has made little progress.
“The sons and daughters of the elite have access to life in abundance, while the sons and daughters of the poor have no access to life in abundance.”
He went on to say that state capture is still “very much with us” and that the Church should now be involved in a new struggle, “a new struggle for a new society, more equal, a society which realises the values embedded in our Constitution”.
“We need to heal the past but ensure that democratic values take root now,” he said.
Archbishop Makgoba also spent some time talking about the importance of education and his concern about the “shockingly high levels of violence in schools”.
He called on all Christians in South Africa not to hide in churches or rituals but to be visible signs of hope in a time in which so many need hope, desperately.
“We must engage, we must be signs of hope, we must do what we can, in small ways, for in so doing we will find God in all things,” he said.
Fr Russell Pollitt, SJ, director of the Jesuit Institute, thanked Archbishop Makgoba for his “words, encouragement and sharing”, and especially for his leadership and witness.
“When we needed a religious leader to speak out, a man of faith to step up and speak truth to power, you did. Thank you for your courage on behalf of the Christian community in South Africa,” Fr Pollitt told Archbishop Makgoba.
After the keynote address participants were able to choose to do three of 14 different workshops on offer.
Workshops included topics like “Finding God online”, “Positive psychology and Ignatian Spirituality”, “Finding God in art”, Finding God in film” and “The spirituality that shaped the ecclesiology and vision of Pope Francis”.