Practice, Love

I’d like to propose a juxtaposition of two ideas that emerge from the Spiritual Exercises: practice and love. Without getting into too much insider baseball on how Ignatius’s text emphasizes these themes, let me suggest a brief thought exercise that you might take into prayer. We learn anything by practicing: the piano, soccer, algebra. Jesus calls us to love one another as the Father has loved Jesus. How do you practice love? Notice that embedded […]

Andrew Garfield on the Spiritual Exercises

Martin Scorsese’s film Silence has its widespread release today. America magazine has an excellent interview with star Andrew Garfield on his experience doing the Spiritual Exercises as preparation for his role as a Jesuit priest. Interviewer Brendan Busse, SJ, says: When I asked what stood out in the Exercises, he fixed his eyes vaguely on a point in the near distance, wandering off into a place of memory. Then, as if the question had brought […]

What Will Be Your Focus in the New Year?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Two common ones involve getting in shape or making a commitment to deepen one’s prayer life. Former catechetical leader Paul Gallagher explains how one led to the other for him in the article “How the Spiritual Exercises Rebooted My Health.” He writes: St. Ignatius reminds us in the Spiritual Exercises that we need to detach ourselves from those things that may have taken on addictive qualities in our lives. […]

The 19th Annotation: What Is It, and What Can You Expect?

You may have heard of the 19th annotation in regard to prayer retreats or the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Simply put, the 19th annotation—sometimes called an Ignatian Retreat in Daily Life—is a version of the Spiritual Exercises designed for people who cannot be away for 30 days to do the Exercises as they were practiced originally. Most of the time, the “19th” is done by people who work full-time but who want to do […]

The Ignatian Take on the Christian Journey

The Exercises represent a kind of spiritual journey, as they invite the one who makes them to consider the foundational truths of Christian life: creation as an act of love, human stewardship of creation, sin and forgiveness, the life and work of Jesus as a paradigm of discipleship, Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection and, finally, the surrender of all human life into the hands of a loving God. The Ignatian take on the Christian journey […]

Positive Intent

Educator Laura Thomas was at a meeting in which they started by outlining expectations. One caught her by surprise: “Assume positive intent.” I was drawn up a bit short by every single word in that statement. First of all, we know that assumptions are generally a bad idea. Secondly, I had no idea where these people were coming from, geographically or pedagogically. How could I vouch for their level of positivity? Was I preemptively agreeing […]

Kevin O’Brien, SJ, on Adapting the Spiritual Exercises

America magazine interviewed Kevin O’Brien, SJ, about his mission and ministry work at Georgetown University. The author of The Ignatian Adventure, O’Brien began a new role as the dean of the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA, this month. When asked about adapting the Spiritual Exercises for university audiences, O’Brien replied: Ignatius built adaptation into both the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. This flexibility of approach stems from Ignatius’ […]

Call of the King via E-Mail

Imagine that a passionate leader sent you an e-mail to take on a specific role within a world-changing movement. How would you respond to this e-mail? Andy Otto presents a version of the Call of the King meditation and looks at excuses we might make in responding to the call. It may also seem unlikely that I can help. I certainly can’t make a difference. When we all say this, no difference is made. Yet […]

Not a Spectator Sport

Erik Oland, SJ, reminds us that The Spiritual Exercises are more than a book to be read and stresses that the Spiritual Exercises need to be experienced. This is not a spectator sport …. the Ignatian contemplations help us to write, with the help of God’s action, the gospel of our very lives. One needs to want to make them. I have been saying to people lately that if you want a one word descriptor […]

Waking Up to the Risen Jesus

This story is inspired by the first contemplation in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, the apparition of Christ to Mary (#218). Do you know that semiconscious state as you begin to awaken, when it’s possible to believe you’re still dreaming? That’s how I awoke the morning of my son’s Resurrection. I felt my Jeshua gently stroking my hair. I smiled and looked into his sweet face. Such a loving son! He was sitting […]

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