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Ignatius of Loyola and Juan de Ávila on the Ascetic Life of the Laity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter compares both men (Ignatius of Loyola and John of Ávila) in their theological treatment of the laity. The main thesis is that Ignatius of Loyola as well as John of Ávila saw the need for, and reflected theologically about, the spiritual renewal of the laical state. They conceived the spiritual vocation of the laity in positive terms, envisioning the renewal of the laical state as fundamental for the renewal of Roman Catholicism in general. Careful examination of their writings demonstrates that both wanted to adapt the exigencies of the ascetic life to the necessities of the laical state. Consequently, their agreement on this point provides further evidence of an emerging shift in sixteenth-century Spanish spirituality regarding the spiritual vocation of the laity. While Ignatius of Loyola and John of Ávila were contemporaries, they had remarkably little personal contact over their lifetime.

Keywords: ascetic life; Ignatius of Loyola; John of Ávila; laity; Roman Catholicism; Spanish spirituality



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