What are the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius?

 

Written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Spiritual Exercises provide a particular path of prayer that is meant to be “experienced” rather than read.

After his conversion, St. Ignatius spent several months in a cave praying.  It was there that he wrote the Exercises to share with others.  Today, his precise method of prayer is recognized as one of the classic spiritual works of all time. The body of work was originally written to be “given” to religious during an intense 30 days of prayer.  Later, lay persons began to avail themselves of the method, which evolved over time into different forms more conducive to the person “taking” the Exercises while the basic structure and format remained the same.

The Exercises are divided into 4 “weeks,” not necessarily seven days each, but more like a segment or period of time.

Week 1: Recognition of the self as sinful.  Confession and repentance of sin.  Recognizing God’s overwhelming love and mercy.

Week 2: Hearing the “Call of the King,” to imitate Christ and follow Jesus under a standard of grace.

Week 3: Accompanying Jesus in His passion.

Week 4: Accepting God’s invitation to resurrection in one’s own life, and living that life to the fullest in Jesus.

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