The Spiritual Exercises – the first week

The first week of the Spiritual Exercises begins with a consideration of the First Principle and Foundation, when we bring to the centre of our prayer a desire for greater freedom so that we can appreciate God’s continuing creative and unconditional love. There is a theme of letting go in this week, a prayer for the ability to leave behind and shed what is not helpful. The week goes on to help us to look at global and personal sin as we are led to accept our need for healing from anything that holds us back from a full conversion. We pray that we might have deeper faith in Christ, knowing deeply that we are forgiven. With that deepened desire to be a disciple, we attend to the ‘Call of the King’ – hearing Jesus’ invitation to follow and accept him as leader.

See Ignatian Spirituality for more about the Spiritual Exercises

Ignatius of Loyola wrote the Spiritual Exercises once he had found that certain meditations and contemplations–“Exercises”–were helpful to others in coming to a clearer image of God, themselves and their place in the world. While the text is widely published, the Exercises are more a set of “director’s notes” used to guide a person during a month-long retreat than a text to be read alone.  The ‘weeks’ described in the Exercises refer to the four main phases.

Every Jesuit does the Spiritual Exercises during his initial training and again during Tertianship. Please pray for the Tertians in Dublin who will be doing the exercises from 19 November to 20 December.