Ignatian Resources

A bibliography of Ignatian resources for student, faculty, and staff of the university

The Spiritual Exercises

The Ignatian Way presentations seek to pass on the fundamentals of prayer, belief, reflection and action that we have received from St. Ignatius. But such a task is as impossible as it is to describe the color blue or the sensation wet. The fundamentals of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises are not to be read about, they are to be experienced. Nevertheless one can come to an appreciation of this collection of notes, prayers, meditations and guidelines just as one can come to an appreciation sports without being an athlete. Still, there’s something special about being in the game and not just on the sidelines.

Reflections - The Spiritual Exercises

Why would someone engage the services of a personal trainer? Because everyone is different. Just so, the ideal of the Spiritual Exercises is to adapt the notes, prayers, meditations and tempo of the Exercises to fit that of the individual. Usually the Exercises are given under the direction of a spiritual guide who helps the retreatant to listen for where God is leading them. No two persons will have the same experience or the same call that results from the retreat. Still, many will find a resonance with the experience of others, a commonality that allows one to speak of God’s movements in their own life which is understandable by others.

Some of the basics of the Exercises as expressed in the video include:

Weeks: The exercises are divided into four fundamental units called weeks.

  • Week 1: considers God’s great love for us and our sometimes flawed response to God’s gifts. We pray for the grace to see ourselves as sinners, yet loved by God.
  • Week 2: focuses on Christ’s mission to save and heal the world. The retreatant discovers more intimately Jesus’ compassion and fundamental love of the people. The retreatant grows in a desire to join Jesus in his mission.
  • Week 3: centers on the passion of Jesus. The retreatant is asked to travel the way of the cross with Jesus.
  • Week 4: explodes with the chaos, wonder, confusion and awe of the Resurrection. It is from this intimate experience of God’s power of life over death that propels the retreatant on their mission post-retreat.