Spiritual Exercises for the Young

Nathan Stone, SJ, makes a strong case for giving the Spiritual Exercises to young people.  He thinks that veteran spiritual directors are too  cautious if they regard the Exercises as experiences for older, settled people. Some might think it safer to postpone the Exercises. Yes, it is, because commitment is always a risk. But then, safety is not a priority for the followers of Jesus. I would suggest that the Exercises are primarily a vocational […]

Why Make the Spiritual Exercises?

The best way to savor the graces of Ignatian spirituality (usually) is to make the Spiritual Exercises. Opportunities to do this have greatly expanded in recent years. The most common way to make the Exercises now is a “19th annotation” retreat, named for one way that Ignatius Loyola himself offered the Exercises in the 16th century. This version of the Exercises takes about nine months, and involves a commitment to daily prayer and weekly meetings […]

Sexuality and Ignatian Spirituality

Tim Muldoon, who blogs here at dotMagis, has published an excellent article on sexuality and Ignatian spirituality in The Way, a journal published by the British Jesuits.  Here’s a taste: To imitate Christ and to feel as Christ would feel—these constitute the method the Exercises prescribe for deepening union with God. They amount to a discipline of all of one’s senses and emotions, so that these faculties may be put at the disposal of Christ […]

Bodies, Beauty, and the Grace of the First Week

Sticking with the theme of new year’s resolutions, I’ve been thinking about a common one: getting fit. It struck me yesterday, while watching a Boston College women’s basketball game with my two girls, 10 and 7.  Lots of talent on the floor, on both sides of the ball; it was fun to watch, especially with my ten year-old, who was watching with her own basketball team. It’s kind of a truism that sports are good […]

The Spiritual Exercises and Ignatian Work

Maureen Waldron of Creighton University thinks that Jesuits should make special efforts to expand the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises to include the lay people who work in Jesuit/Ignatian ministries. “Freely offering them the Exercises, will support partners in ministry in exploring more deeply the roots of Ignatian spirituality and help them have a clearer understanding of the spirit and mission of these shared ministries,” she writes. Read the whole thing. Waldron, who blogs here […]


I’m not one to make new year’s resolutions, but because my calendar now says 2010 I can’t help but think a little about them. I just finished a review of Christopher Jamison’s fine book Finding Happiness, which is perfect for those of a resolution frame of mind. Written by a Benedictine abbot (of Worth Abbey, in Sussex), the book looks at the development of the philosophy of happiness in the West, from the Greeks into […]

Christmas Pageant

Two nights ago I witnessed an annual event which has become one of my favorite events of the entire year: the Christmas pageant at my daughters’ school. We have the best music teacher ever there, and what she gets the children to do is magnificent. Last year, it was drumming modeled after the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics; this year it was a walk through salvation history with song and dance. (My 4th grader […]

Sacred Time

This evening, Saturday, at Vespers, the Church begins its observance of Advent. He is coming! I marvel at the way the Church has, over its history, sought to mark sacred time. The philosopher Charles Taylor observed that there is something remarkable about how the Good Friday we observe this year is in some way closer to Christ’s crucifixion than, say, the midsummer day of last year; we enter into an imaginative place that brings the […]

Living with Purpose

In my freshman seminar yesterday, my class and I were discussing Plato’s Republic, and specifically his strong focus on thinking about the good of the city over the good of the individual person.  As usual, my students found this focus somewhat confusing—they (like us) think as free individuals and so are unaccustomed to thinking about their lives being constrained for the purpose of an abstract “common good.” I suggested that the best analogy for our […]

What the Spiritual Exercises Do

The Exercises give us the confidence that grows from personal experience, says Jim Conroy, SJ, on Busted Halo.  “It gives to men and women who have that experience of God the ability to speak out of that truth of their experience. It’s not what Father said or what Sister said; it’s what I know from my own relationship with God. Now that’s all informed by our theology and by our faith, but to have legitimate […]

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