Starring Andreas Muñoz
Run time: 120 minutes
In theaters now
For those of us not raised and educated by Jesuits, we may vaguely know of the order’s founder. His name probably bounces around in our minds with dozens of other Counter-Reformation saints like Francis de Sales, Phillip Neri, Francis Xavier and Charles Borromeo.
This new historical drama, based on the memoirs of St. Ignatius of Loyola, will help change that. Ignatius was a soldier, a man of vice and violence who, in his attempt to turn to the light, was forced to wrestle with his inner demons to the very brink of death.
Loyola’s leg was seriously injured during his valiant but futile defense at the Battle of Pamplona in 1521. While recovering, he reluctantly read the lives of the saints and the life of Christ. Thus began his transformation from a warrior for the world to a warrior for Christ. Imitating his newfound hero, Francis of Assisi, Loyola gave away his belongings to live a beggar’s life.
But God has other plans. Loyola developed his nowfamous spiritual exercises and became a brilliant teacher. He caught the attention of Church officials who brought him before an Inquisition. Despite his trials, Loyola remained committed to prayer, fasting and devotion to Jesus. “If you could hear the voice of God, would you want to keep it secret?” he asks.
Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz is exceptional as Ignatius in this Filipino production shot in Spain and the Philippines. He brilliantly captures the saint’s struggles with depression and near-suicide, his trial before the Inquisition, and his ultimate vindication.
There is so much to be learned from Loyola’s life and so many lessons to be gleaned from this film. Ultimately, this is a story of God’s grace and how, through tragedy, the Lord calls us to turn our gaze toward the only One who can save us.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.