Ignatius of Loyola could be described as a saint different from the rest taking into account his early life and the events which prompted him to pursue sainthood. His life can be a testimony that when one completely devotes his life to serving God he or she can become fulfilled. The levels of commitment he displays could be hard for an ordinary human without his levels of ambition. Considering some of his teachings, including the spiritual exercises, it can be argued that Ignatius’ methods are psychological and that they seek to completely alienate a person from the world and its pleasures.
Ignatius has always been an ambitious person devoting his life to whatever he sets his mind to. In battle, he chooses to fight rather than to surrender even when all soldiers unanimously agree that surrendering is the way to go. His behavior is, perhaps, the best explanation of why he decides to take extreme measures to achieve the salvation he needs. The energy he shows as a fighter and the ‘never quit attitude are all displayed in his sainthood. The fact that he achieves what he seeks could be used as an example of how an individual can dedicate his life to God. The spiritual exercises are particularly interesting because they involve a strict routine with both mental and psychological implications. The mind is programmed to think of nothing but salvation and God.
His methods, however, can be questioned in terms of the ultimate motive of Ignatius – that is, whether they are intended to achieve salvation or to make him better than all holy persons. In St. Ignatius of Loyola, it is indicated that his austerities were so intense because of his desire to achieve great things. Additionally, his mind bends on doing something that equals or surpasses the penances practiced by holy persons. These statements reveal a two-pronged motivation where Ignatius sought to atone for his sins and to outshine all the great saints before him. For someone claiming to devote themself to God by denying himself of all earthly pleasures, pursuing a great name for himself, and putting himself among the great saints could be seen as selfish. For most people not seeking to make a reputation for themselves, the extremely rigorous exercises may seem unnecessary.
The spiritual exercises can be deemed to be psychological as they seek to train the mind to focus on one course without deviating. Whatever the nature of such exercises, however, they are an embodiment of absolute devotion. A key lesson could be that the only way for a person to find peace when faced with a sinful past is to meditate through the spiritual exercises so that one has no time to think of the sins. Ignatius cannot be sure that his sins are, indeed, forgiven so the extremities he puts himself through leave him no time to recollect on his sins.
Ignatius could serve as the perfect example of commitment to sainthood and an undying drive in the pursuit of salvation. As expressed herein, his behavior and actions are major because of the person he is – that is, someone who never gives up, an ambitious human being with the energy and focus to accomplish what he starts. His austerities may have had a secondary motive to make a name for himself, but he managed to find the happiness he sought in serving God.