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 experience, in the broadest sense, to discover one’s calling, whatever that might be. Those who have already chosen a path can still make them fruitfully, of course. But I think we reverse priorities, if we give the Exercises primarily to those who are already settled, and exceptionally, to those who are not.

When we offer the Spiritual Exercises, if we are to be faithful to the source, we must go outside the walls, to where the people are, and not expect them to come to us. Out there is where we will find the young adventurers.

Read the whole thing.

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Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is What Matters Most and Why. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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