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 […]

Applying the Spiritual Exercises to the Later Stages of Life

Ignatian volunteer Barbara A. Lee thinks about applying the Spiritual Exercises to the later stages of life in an article for America, “Aging with Ignatius.” Lee writes: Making the exercises involves a commitment away from self-absorption to a God-centered life…First and foremost, the Exercises are about seeing, loving and following Jesus. At any age, we need to continue contemplating the life of Jesus—in Scripture-based prayer, the daily examen and regular journaling. Living this commitment poses […]

A Dance/Theater Performance Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises

For the Greater Glory of God is a dance/theater performance inspired by the Spiritual Exercises. The piece was created in celebration of the Ignatian Anniversaries of 1990–1991, the 450th anniversary of the founding of the Society of Jesus and the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Ignatius Loyola. The first performance took place at St. Ignatius Church in Chestnut Hill, MA, where Fr. Robert VerEecke, SJ, creator of the piece, was pastor. Throughout the […]

The Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life

If you are interested in doing the Spiritual Exercises in daily life (also known as the 19th annotation retreat), September brings an opportunity to start in alignment with the liturgical calendar. Retreat houses around the country offer the experience, such as the Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, CA—which offers the Exercises in Korean and Chinese in addition to their English and Spanish programming. For those unable to participate through a retreat center, the Spiritual […]

Vinita Hampton Wright on the Principle and Foundation

Vinita Hampton Wright speaks about the Principle and Foundation, the first key meditation of the Spiritual Exercises. In it, we reflect on how we are created to praise, reverence, and serve God, and how the things of earth all help us to pursue that end. Vinita says that the Principle and Foundation re-orients us to reality. The reality is this. God, who is love, created everything that is, including me. And all of creation, including […]

St. Ignatius and Serving the One True Ruler

As a child, Ignatius listened with amazement while his father and his eldest brother told stories about how their ancestors had served with distinction the kings of Castile, how they had identified with and dedicated themselves to the monarchy, and how they had been richly rewarded for their devotion. After his conversion, Ignatius strove to serve the greater glory of the one true ruler of the world: Christ. Human rulers have human flaws. They can […]

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