Sandro Magister has an interesting discussion in "The Unfinished Symphony of the Composer Francis" (www.chiesa, November 5, 2013), in which he reviews two currents of Ignatian thought in the Holy Father's spirituality. He writes (my emphases):
ROME, November 5, 2013 - The interview of Pope Francis with the magazine of the Rome Jesuits “La Civiltà Cattolica” appears more and more as the “overture” to a concert for many voices.
A concert that is still in full swing, both developing motifs barely mentioned by the pope and embellishing them with counterpoint.
In that interview, for example, in confirming his being and feeling fully Jesuit, Jorge Mario Bergoglio distanced himself from the current image of Saint Ignatius of Loyola as a severe ascetic of the Counter-Reformation:
"I am rather close to the mystical movement, that of Louis Lallement and Jean-Joseph Surin. And Faber was a mystic.”
To a nonexpert, this comment sounded hard to understand. Well then, "La Civiltà Cattolica" has seen to explaining its meaning, in an article in its issue of November 2, written by the Jesuit Giandomenico Mucci and entitled: "Pope Francis and Ignatian spirituality."
Every article of "La Civiltà Cattolica" has always been printed after inspection by the Vatican authorities, an inspection that Pius XII exercised in person, that the subsequent popes delegated to the secretariat of state, but that now is tending to return into the hands of Pope Francis, at least for the questions that are closest to his heart and concern him personally.
It is difficult, in fact, to imagine that “La Civiltà Cattolica" could have described with such sureness and with such richness of detail the Ignation spirituality proper to pope Bergoglio without having had approval from him.
Fr. Mucci explains that "it is correct to distinguish two currents, historically distinguishable and definable, within the one Ignatian spirituality."
The first he describes as follows:
"The ascetical current is founded on discursive meditation and on the methodical exercise of the individual virtues. It inculcates the great principles of spiritual life, but insists on the effort of combating defects one after another, developing the virtues one after another."
And the second:
"The mystical current, however, after the initial rigorous ascesis, insists on docility to the action of the Holy Spirit. The fight against the vices and the practice of the virtues take second place."
Fr. Mucci continues:
"Both currents have full right of citizenship in the Society of Jesus and the authors of the one and of the other are all disciples of Saint Ignatius. Over the course of the centuries, the official directives of the Society, down to our own times, have favored the first current, perhaps because it has been judged more sure spiritually and not likely to favor those illusions which always, or almost always, take hold wherever there is talk of mysticism without discernment. Nonetheless, the mystical current has never been forbidden or discouraged. Nor would it have been possible to do so, both because of the universal esteem that its authors have enjoyed and still enjoy, and because of the fruits of holiness that it has produced. One need think only of the holy martyrs of Canada who were pupils of Lallemant. And of such an author the pope today declares himself to be a pupil."
In another passage of the article, Fr. Mucci further explains the meaning of mysticism:
"Mysticism, in the broader theological sense, is the disposition within the human spirit to receive the lights and movements of the Holy Spirit caused by an activity distinct from the ordinary human one. These lights and movements activate the gifts of the Holy Spirit already infused by God within the soul. The mystical life, thus understood, is nothing other than habitual docility to the Spirit of God."
So this was Saint Ignatius: a mystic, before an ascetic.
And this is Pope Francis. In order to understand his actions, Ignatian mysticism is an indispensable key of interpretation....