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Jesuit Spirituality: To Be a Contemplative in Action

An Essay


Anthony J. Fejfar

© Copyright 2006 by Anthony J. Fejfar

Previously, following Aristotle, I have argued that intuitive

contemplation is the highest end of the human person. Intuitive

contemplation can of course involve the intuition of Being, An Unrestricted

Act of Understanding. I argue also, however, that intuitive contemplation

must be complemented by at least analytic action, that is, intuition integrates

analytic understanding to form intellectual activity. For me, the intellect

and the Spirit are one. The intellectual life and the spiritual life are the


Ignatius of Loyola makes a similar argument. Ignatius argues that

contemplation must be complemented with action based upon love. Thus,

one utilizing Jesuit spirituality is to try an become a person who is a

“contemplative in action.” The intellect moves the will to act. Whether

love motivates one to act or the will motivates one to act, the result is the

same, contemplation finds its fulfillment in action which carries out the

results of contemplation. Thus, if I use the intellect to design a great

building, the will moves me to actually have the building built, not just stay

a blueprint. If the intellect moves me to develop a new legal theory

supporting social justice, then the will or love moves me to want to have that

theory published and applied in the real world. In this way we create the

intuition of Being in all things. This called infused contemplation.


Ignatius of Loyola, The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus,

22-23 (1970).