The "What" and "Why" of the Spiritual Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Meeting the Living God in Daily Life

in the tradition of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

Finding God in All Things

Who would embark on this experience ?. Scroll down

What personal commitment is one expected to make ?. Scroll down

What time commitment is one expected to make ? Scroll down

Movement towards great interior freedom ? Scroll down


For Whom ...

Who would embark on this experience...

The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius are for those who seek:

greater inner freedom

deeper inner healing

integrity and authenticity

renewed fire and life energy

deep, abiding peace

renewed sense of purpose, direction, meaning

a deeper sense of the sacred

clearer sense of God's presence and activity in one's life

a greater sense of connection with oneself, loved ones, the human family, and all creation

a spirit of discernment

a thirst for justice and peace

a desire to serve others

prayer

a deeper, more vibrant knowledge of and relationship with God/Jesus


Personal Commitment

What personal commitment am I expected to make...

One making the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius would be asked to:

  • set aside 30 to 60 minutes each day to spend in prayer and reflection
  • meet with a spiritual director/prayer companion weekly for 35 minutes
  • discuss with a spiritual director/prayer companion the experiences, inner movements, and insights received as a result of the time spent in prayer/reflection and beyond
  • remain open to the inner restlessness and desire for some change and/or growth in one's personal, social, and spiritual life.

The Spiritual Director/Prayer Companion is one who accompanies you in order to support and aid you in:

  • noticing the sacred in your life
  • noticing the reality of God's presence and activity in your prayer and life
  • noticing the places of life and energy in your daily experience
  • better trusting what you notice
  • more appropriately responding to what you notice


Time Commitment

What time commitment am I expected to make...

Eight-week directed prayer experience

  • eight weeks following several preparatory days
  • 30 to 60 minutes of daily prayer and reflection throughout the eight weeks
  • 35 minutes each week to meet with a spiritual director throughout the eight weeks.

Five-month directed prayer experience

  • five months following several preparatory days
  • 30 to 60 minutes of daily prayer and reflection throughout the five months
  • 35 minutes each week to meet with a spiritual director throughout the five months.

30-Week directed prayer experience

  • 30 weeks including several preparatory weeks.
  • 30 to 60 minutes of daily prayer and reflection throughout the 30 weeks.
  • 35 minutes each week to meet with a prayer companion throughout the 30 weeks.


Freedom and the Spiritual Exercises

Movement towards interior freedom...

A Wisdom Story From the East

A peasant came running up to a holy man, who was

resting under a tree.

"The stone! The stone! Give me the precious stone!"

"What stone?" asked the holy man.

"Last night I dreamed that I would find a holy man who

would give me a precious stone that would make me rich

forever," replied the peasant.

The holy man rummaged through his bag and pulled out a stone.

"He probably meant this one," he said as he handed it to the

peasant. “I found it on a forest path a few days ago. You can

certainly have it."

The man looked at the stone in wonder. It was a diamond, probably

the largest diamond in the whole world; he took it and walked away.

All night he tossed about in bed, unable to sleep.

Next day at the crack of dawn he woke the holy man and said,

"Give me the wealth that makes it possible for you to give this

diamond away so easily."

Anthony de Mellow, S.J., The Diamond, The Song of the Bird

Interior Freedom and The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises are to be experienced in the context of one's real present-day world. They support a spirituality directed towards sustaining a life of compassionate, generous service. They engage one in a steady, growing interior freedom - a freedom to live and to love.

1. Freedom, to grow in self-knowledge to become more aware of our true authentic self and to live out of that authenticity.

    • To see one's authentic self, to see oneself through the loving eyes of God.
    • To see and let go of those obstacles and attitudes - personal, social, etc - that keep us from embracing and living out of our authentic self and out of a secure and loving relationship with God.

2. Freedom to recognize evil and the obstacles of life within oneself and within one's community and the world.

3. Freedom to engage in a personal transformation that moves us to greater solidarity with all.

    • To see ourselves in right relation to ourselves, to others, to the global community, and to all creation (kingdom of God)

4. Freedom to engage in the work of social transformation leading to greater peace and justice.

    • To be moved to compassion
    • To engage in the world - availing ourselves and our gifts to the service of a world in need of healing, peace and justice

5. Freedom to grow in friendship with Jesus.

6. Freedom to grow in the life, compassion, and Spirit of God.

Inner freedom leads to "indifference;" that is, an indifference that avails us the freedom to respond generously to our growing awareness of God's love and action in our lives.

  • To recognize and welcome God’s personal communication and gift of self to us.
  • To embrace/not embrace things to the extent that they deepen our openness to life energy (God's self-communication and invitation)
  • To become passionately and single-mindedly committed to the service of God’s kingdom of peace, justice and compassion.
  • To become generous in our availability and abandonment to God.
  • To be prepared to go where the need is greatest at the time it is needed.

The Fruit of Inner Freedom - in the words of Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

Nothing is more practical than finding God,

that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.

What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,

what you will do with your evenings,

how you will spend your weekends,

what you read,

what you know that breaks your heart,

and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.

Fall in love, stay in love,

and it will decide everything.

Pedro Arrupe, S.J.