Spiritual Exercises - Toward Greater Freedom

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Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises
of Saint Ignatius Loyola
An Introduction
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• History
– Written by Saint Ignatius Loyola
• Ignatius’ personal conversion led
him to several conclusions and
many insights which include
– God is in ALL things
» in the activities and
concerns of everyday life as
much as in prayerful
contemplation.
– The need to discern God’s will in
one’s life
» Good Spirit (Spirit of Light)
» Evil Spirit (Spirit of
Darkness)
– The Good Spirit brings feelings of
peace, happiness and
contentment to the soul
– The Evil Spirit brings feelings of
sadness and disturbs the soul
– Inspired by the lives of the Saints
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
–
–
–
The experience of God - His own conversion
was not without inner conflict. But his struggle
showed him how you can learn from the
emotions and feelings that move you. His own
spiritual development became a guide in helping
others to seek their way in life. Ignatius’ Spiritual
Exercises are an invitation to seek God and
follow Jesus in a life of service and devotion to
others.
What really matters - From the very beginning
Christians have sought to do what is good, but
found themselves to be confronted by their
limitations and torn by evil as well. On his
sickbed Ignatius discovered these two
movements in his own mind and soul. It is his
central intuition that you can learn to discern
these movements and move towards what is
good, by deciding to chose the things that really
matter in life. Applied to all matters that concern
us - trivial and vital - discernment becomes a way
of life.
Embodying the Spirit - During his studies
Ignatius gave his Spiritual Exercises to a circle of
ten friends, who - after long debate - decided to
found a new order. As a result, the Spiritual
Exercises are the core of Jesuit Spirituality. All
Jesuits make a 30 day silent retreat in which they
make the Exercises. Every year, Jesuits are to
make an 8 day retreat.
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• The Exercises is a
structured way of
utilizing meditation
and contemplation to
draw closer to God
– It is more of a total
experience and less of
a technique
– The goal is to get you
spiritually fit and
strong
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• Requirements
– Openness to Growth
– Ability to write about
spiritual matters
– Ability to pray using your
mind for meditation and
contemplative reflection
upon Scripture
– Perhaps more than other
assignments a significant
degree of maturity
– Belief that God wants to
communicate with you
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• Goals
– It is important at the
beginning to have
some idea of what you
would like to gain from
the Exercises
– In part the goal of the
experience is to help
you develop the
vocabulary to speak
about spiritual
experiences
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
•
Purposes
– To order one’s life according to God’s
will
– To understand that one is a loved
sinner
– To know Jesus Christ personally and
intimately and thus desire to follow
Christ
– To strengthen one in accepting Christ’s
cross and to accept the implications
that come with truly being a Christian
with all of its demands and burdens
– To celebrate with great joy the
resurrection of Christ and to allow that
joy to move one into action
– To help one discern how God is
speaking to us through different life
events
– To grow in spiritual freedom and the
ability to find intimacy with God in the
midst of our every day busy lives
•
How many of the above do you desire?
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• Why make the Spiritual
Exercises?
– Mr. Borrow believes that it is
virtually impossible to live a
satisfying life without a strong
spiritual life
– Our modern society and culture
affronts us with images and
ideas that lead to isolation,
depression, and ultimately
death of the soul
– Mr. Borrow wants you to be
able to live life fully
– To understand the false
dichotomy between the sacred
and the secular (God is in all
things and God desires our
happiness)
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• Introductory Questions
– Who is God for you?
– Who is God to you?
– What do you expect from
God?
– What does God expect
from you?
– How do you deal with
pressure?
– What pressures are
placed upon you? By
whom?
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• With quiet comes
stillness which may
at first seem
unsettling or
uncomfortable but
ultimately allows
us to see
ourselves more
clearly
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• The Exercises
– Not easy, but difficult
– Not passive, but active
– God desires to reveal God’s self to
us
• God’s initiative not ours
– We put ourselves on God’s time, on
God’s terms (not ours)
– Not intellectual, but affective
(feelings)
• Scola afectus (“school of the heart”)
– Initially, you may do more reading
and less reflecting; however,
eventually you should move towards
more reflecting and less reading
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• The experience of making
the Spiritual Exercises has
many formats
– 30 day silent retreat
– 18th Annotation – Adaptations
made for age, education, and
talent of the one making the
Exercises
– 19th Annotation – Making the
retreat over an extended period
of time (like the Creighton
University Online Retreat)
– We will use a format spread out
over both semesters and
gradually work our way deeper
• We start with warm-up
exercises before getting into
the intense workouts
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• The Spiritual Exercises in the
30 day format is composed
of 4 thematic weeks
– The 1st Week prepares one for
the Exercises by focusing on
God’s love and our own human
sinfulness
– The 2nd Week focuses on the
life of Jesus
– The 3rd Week focuses on the
passion and death of Jesus
– The 4th Week focuses on the
resurrection of Jesus
– The “5th Week” focuses on how
to live out the graces that one
has received from the
Exercises so that the light of
Christ may be seen in you
Growth in Christ
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
• As we prepare for an
experience of the
Spiritual Exercises let us
pray that we may be
open to God’s grace,
that we settle into the
quiet space of our self to
fully discover all that
God desires for us and
to see more clearly
God’s loving presence in
our life.
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