Howard Gray, SJ, explains why much of the prayer in the Spiritual Exercises is repetition—multiple meditations on the same subjects or Scripture passages.The repetitions are efforts to engage mystery, to center on the depth of riches within revelation, and to discover how God specifically invites this particular man or woman to find the meaning of a gospel event for him or her.
In other words, the aim of Ignatian repetition is to personalize prayer. For example, a person hears Mary’s yes in Luke 1:38. In the initial encounter with this scene, the yes of Mary may have been admirable, challenging, and vaguely inviting. In the course of the prayers of repetition, the man or woman making the Exercises may begin to feel drawn to pronounce his or her own yes, to recognize a developing attraction to stand with Mary in personal solidarity with her kind of discipleship. Such a movement will lead in time to a willingness to stand with Mary beneath the cross of her son.
—as excerpted in An Ignatian Spirituality Reader, edited by George Traub, SJ