The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (Latin original: Exercitia spiritualia), composed 1522–1524, are a set of Christian meditations, contemplations, and prayers written by Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th-century Spanish priest, theologian, and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Divided into four thematic "weeks" of variable length, they are designed to be carried out over a period of 28 to 30 days. 98 Their underlying theology has been found agreeable to other Christian denominations who make use of them and also for addressing problems facing society in the 21st century.They were composed with the intention of helping participants in religious retreats to discern the will of God in their lives, leading to a personal commitment to follow Jesus whatever the cost. :
A review of the publication history of the Spiritual Exercises may be found on the website of Loyola Press.The first printed edition of the Spiritual Exercises was published in Latin in 1548, after being given papal approval by Pope Paul III. However, Ignatius's manuscripts were in Spanish, so this first edition was in fact a translation, although it was made during Ignatius's lifetime and with his approval. Many subsequent editions in Latin and in various other languages were printed early on with widely differing texts.
Archival work on the authentic text of the Spiritual Exercises was undertaken at the initiative of the 19th century Jesuit Superior General Jan Roothaan, who himself published a translation and notes from the original manuscripts of St. Ignatius. The culmination of this work was a "critical edition" of the Exercises published by the Jesuit order in 1919, in the Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu series.A critical edition from 1847 that incorporates Roothaan's studies can be found online. An authoritative Spanish-Latin text, based on the critical edition, was published in Turin by Marietti, in 1928. This was edited by the editor of the critical edition, and included convenient marginal numbers for every section, which can be found in all contemporary editions (and inline in this article).
An English translation by Louis J. Puhl, S.J., published in 1951, has been widely used by Jesuits, spiritual directors, retreat leaders, and others in the English-speaking world. Puhl translated directly from studies based on the original manuscripts.
After recovering from a leg wound incurred during the Siege of Pamplona in 1521, Ignatius made a retreat with the Benedictine monks at their abbey high on Montserrat in Catalonia, northern Spain, where he hung up his sword before the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. The monks introduced him to the spiritual exercises of Garcia de Cisneros, which were based in large part on the teachings of the Brothers of the Common Life, the promoters of the "devotio moderna". From Montserrat, he left for Barcelona but took a detour through the town of Manresa, where he eventually remained for several months, continuing his convalescence at a local hospital. During this time he discovered The Imitation of Christ of Thomas à Kempis, the crown jewel of the "devotio moderna",which, unlike the focus on labor in the Lord's vineyard which Ignatius will give to his Constitutions, gave little grounding for an apostolic spirituality. He also spent much of his time praying in a cave nearby, where he practiced rigorous asceticism. During this time Ignatius experienced a series of visions, and formulated the fundamentals of his Spiritual Exercises. He would later refine and complete the Exercises when he was a student in Paris.
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius form the cornerstone of Ignatian Spirituality: a way of understanding and living one's relationship with God in the world as practiced by members of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Although he originally designed them to take place in the setting of a secluded retreat, during which those undergoing the exercises would be focused on nothing other than the Exercises, Ignatius also provided a model in his introductory notes for completing the Exercises over a longer period without the need of seclusion. 19 The Exercises were designed to be carried out while under the guidance of a spiritual director, but they were never meant only for monks or priests: Ignatius gave the Exercises for 15 years before he was ordained, and years before the Society of Jesus was founded. He saw them as an instrument for bringing about a conversion or change of heart, in the Reformation times in which he lived. After the Society of Jesus was formed, the Exercises became the central component of its training program. They usually take place during the first year of a two-year novitiate and during a final year of spiritual studies after ordination to the priesthood. The Exercises have also impacted the founders of other religious orders, even becoming central to their work.:
Ignatius considered the examen, or spiritual self-review, to be the most important way to continue to live out the experience of the Exercises after their completion.
Ignatius identified the various motives that lead a person to choose one course of action over another as "spirits". 313ffA major aim of the Exercises is the development of discernment (discretio), the ability to discern between good and evil spirits. A good "spirit" can bring love, joy, peace, but also desolation, to bring one to re-examine one's life. An evil spirit usually brings confusion and doubt, but may also prompt contentment to discourage change. The human soul is continually drawn in two directions: towards goodness but at the same time towards sinfulness. :
According to the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, "choice" is the center of the Exercises, and they are directed to choosing God's choice, i.e., ultimately to a self-abandonment to God. The Exercises "have as their purpose the conquest of self and the regulation of one’s life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment."
"Discernment" is very important to Ignatian thought. Through the process of discernment, the believer is led toward a direct connection between one's thought and action and the grace of God. As such, discernment can be considered a movement toward mystical union with God, and it emphasizes the mystical experience of the believer. This aspect of the Spiritual Exercises reflects the trend toward mysticism in Catholic thought which flourished during the time of the counter-reformation (e.g., with Teresa of Ávila, Francis de Sales, and Pierre de Bérulle). However, while discernment can be understood as a mystical path, it can also more prosaically be understood as a method of subjective ethical thought. The Exercises emphasize the role of one's own mental faculties in deciding what is right and wrong. 313:
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The original, complete form of the Exercises is a retreat of about 30 days in silence and solitude. 235 The "weeks" represent stages in a process of wholehearted commitment to the service of God.The Exercises are divided into four "weeks" of varying length with four major themes: sin and God's mercy, episodes in the life of Jesus, the passion of Jesus, and the resurrection of Jesus together with a contemplation on God's love. This last is often seen as the goal of Ignatian spirituality, to find God in all things. :
Morning, afternoon, and evening will be times of the examinations. The morning is to guard against a particular sin or fault, the afternoon is a fuller examination of the same sin or defect. There will be a visual record with a tally of the frequency of sins or defects during each day. In it, the letter 'g' will indicate days, with 'G' for Sunday. Three kinds of thoughts: "my own" and two from outside, one from the "good spirit" and the other from the "bad spirit".
Ignatius' book is not meant to be used by the retreatant but by a director or spiritual guide. Each day the exercitant uses the material proposed by the director for four or five hour-long periods, each followed by a review of how the period went. The exercitant reports back to the spiritual director who helps interpret the exercitant's experiences and proposes material for the next day. Ignatius observes that God "deals directly" with the well-disposed person and the director should not give advice to the retreatant that might interfere with God's workings. 15:
After the first week Ignatius recommends a form of contemplation which he calls "application of the senses." 121–126 For this you “place yourself in a scene from the Gospels. Ask yourself, "What do I see? What do I hear? What do I feel, taste and smell?” The purpose of these Exercises is that we might gain the empathy to "follow and imitate more closely our Lord." :109 From this comes the widespread use of the Magis concept in Ignatian circles.:
The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are considered a classic work of spiritual literature.Many Jesuits are ready to direct the general public in retreats based on the Exercises.
Since the 1980s there has been a growing interest in the Spiritual Exercises among people from other Christian traditions. 18 and as a school of contemplative prayer.The Exercises are also popular among lay people both in the Catholic Church and in other denominations, and lay organizations like the Christian life community place the Exercises at the center of their spirituality. The Exercises are seen variously as an occasion for a change of life :
The most common way for laypersons to go through the Exercises now is a "retreat in daily life", which involves a five- to seven-month programme of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. 19Also called the "19th annotation exercises" based on a remark of St. Ignatius in the 19th "introductory observation" in his book, the retreat in daily life does not require an extended stay in a retreat house and the learned methods of discernment can be tried out on day-to-day experiences over time. :
Also, some break the 30 days into two or three sections over a two-year period. Most retreat centers offer shorter retreats with some of the elements of the Spiritual Exercises. Retreats have been developed for specific groups of people, such as those who are married or engaged. Self-guided forms of the Exercises are also available, including online programs.
Saint Peter Faber was the first Jesuit priest and theologian, who was also a co-founder of the Society of Jesus, along with Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier. Pope Francis announced his canonization on 17 December 2013.
Christian meditation is a form of prayer in which a structured attempt is made to become aware of and reflect upon the revelations of God. The word meditation comes from the Latin word meditārī, which has a range of meanings including to reflect on, to study, and to practice. Christian meditation is the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.
Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well. In the case of judgement, discernment can be psychological, moral or aesthetic in nature. Discernment has also been defined in the contexts; scientific, normative and formal. The process of discernment within judgment, involves going past the mere perception of something and making nuanced judgments about its properties or qualities. Discernment in the Christian religion is considered as a virtue, a discerning individual is considered to possess wisdom, and be of good judgement; especially so with regard to subject matter often overlooked by others.
Spiritual direction is the practice of being with people as they attempt to deepen their relationship with the divine, or to learn and grow in their personal spirituality. The person seeking direction shares stories of their encounters of the divine, or how they are cultivating a life attuned to spiritual things. The director listens and asks questions to assist the directee in his or her process of reflection and spiritual growth. Spiritual direction advocates claim that it develops a deeper awareness with the spiritual aspect of being human, and that it is neither psychotherapy nor counseling nor financial planning.
Examination of conscience is a review of one's past thoughts, words, actions, and omissions for the purpose of ascertaining their conformity with, or deviation from, the moral law. Among Christians, this is generally a private review; secular intellectuals have, on occasion, published autocritiques for public consumption. In the Catholic Church penitents who wish to receive the sacrament of penance are encouraged to examine their conscience using the Ten Commandments as a guide, or the Beatitudes, or the virtues and vices. A similar doctrine is taught in Lutheran churches, where penitents who wish to receive Holy Absolution are also asked to use the Ten Commandments as a guide. The process is very similar to the Islamic practice of Muhasaba, or self-reflection.
Catholic spirituality includes the various ways in which Catholics live out their Baptismal promise through prayer and action. The primary prayer of all Catholics is the Eucharistic liturgy in which they celebrate and share their faith together, in accord with Jesus' instruction: "Do this in memory of me." The Catholic bishops at the Second Vatican Council decreed that "devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them." In accord with this, many additional forms of prayer have developed over the centuries as means of animating one's personal Christian life, at times in gatherings with others. Each of the religious orders and congregations of the Catholic church, as well as lay groupings, has specifics to its own spirituality – its way of approaching God in prayer to foster its way of living out the Gospel.
Magis is a Latin word that means "more" or "greater". It is related to ad majorem Dei gloriam, a Latin phrase meaning "for the greater glory of God", the motto of the Society of Jesus. Magis refers to the philosophy of doing more for Christ, and therefore doing more for others. It is an expression of an aspiration and inspiration. It relates to forming the ideal society centered on Jesus Christ.
Mental prayer is a form of prayer recommended in the Catholic Church whereby one loves God through dialogue, meditating on God's words, and contemplation of Christ's face. It is distinguished from vocal prayers which use set prayers, although mental prayer can proceed by using vocal prayers in order to improve dialogue with God. And no prayer is purely vocal, as it has traditionally been defined: "Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God."
Suscipe is the Latin word for 'receive'. While the term was popularized by St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, who incorporated it into his Spiritual Exercises in the early sixteenth century, it goes back to monastic profession, in reciting Psalm 119. This article focuses rather on its popularization through the Exercises and through the Roman Missal, where it introduces the Canon of the Mass.
Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V. is an American Roman Catholic priest and the Denver-based author of ten bestselling books on the theology and spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola. He served for ten years as provincial superior of his Catholic religious congregation, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.
Ignatius of Loyola, venerated as Saint Ignatius of Loyola, was a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian, who together with Peter Faber and Francis Xavier founded the religious order called the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and became its first Superior General at Paris in 1541. The Jesuit order is dedicated to teaching and missionary work. Its members are bound by a special (fourth) vow of obedience to the sovereign pontiff to be ready to fulfill special papal missions. The society played an important role during the Counter-Reformation.
Ignatian spirituality, also known as Jesuit spirituality, is a Catholic spirituality founded on the experiences of the sixteenth-century saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order. The main idea of this form of spirituality comes from Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises, the aim of which is to help one "conquer oneself and to regulate one's life in such a way that no decision is made under the influence of any inordinate attachment." The Exercises are intended to give the person undertaking them a greater degree of freedom from his or her own likes and dislikes, so that their choices are based solely on what they discern God's will is for them. Even in the composition of the exercises by Ignatius early in his career, one might find the apostolic thrust of his spirituality in his contemplation on "The Call of the Earthly King" and in his final contemplation with its focus on finding God in all things.
The Vita Christi, also known as the Speculum vitae Christi is the principal work of Ludolph of Saxony, completed in 1374.
The Ignatian pedagogical paradigm is a way of learning and a method of teaching taken from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. It is based in St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises, and takes a holistic view of the world.
St. Ignatius Church is a Roman Catholic Parish church in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Montreal West, Quebec. It was founded by the Society of Jesus in 1917 as an English-speaking parish. It is next to Loyola High School and the Loyola Campus of Concordia University.
Manresa Jesuit Spiritual Renewal Centre is a centre for Ignatian spirituality run by the Society of Jesus in Pickering, Ontario. It was founded in 1924 and was built in 1945. It is situated next to Pine Ridge Secondary School just off Finch Avenue in north Pickering.
Manresa Spirituality Centre or Villa Manresa is a centre for Ignatian spirituality in the Sainte-Foy area of Quebec City. It was founded in 1891 by the Society of Jesus originally on Chemin Sainte-Foy. In 1921, it moved close to Parc des Braves. It is now situated on Louis Fréchette next to St. Charles Garnier College
Villa Loyola is a centre in Ignatian spirituality run by the Society of Jesus in Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. It is the only Canadian French-speaking Jesuit centre outside of Quebec. As well serving as a retreat centre it is also an ecumenical and interfaith conference centre. It is situated on the shore of Long Lake off Municipal Road 80 to the south of Sudbury's urban core.
Loyola House or its full name Loyola House Retreat and Training Centre is a Jesuit spirituality centre in Guelph, Ontario. It moved to Guelph in 1964 and was the centre of a renewal in Ignatian spirituality in the 1970s. It is within the grounds of the Ignatius Jesuit Centre situated on Woolwich Street to the west of Riverside Park. In the 1960s and 1970s it was the centre of a significant shift in Ignatian spirituality.
Jérôme Nadal was born on 11 August 1507 in Palma De Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, Spain, and died on 3 April 1580 in Rome. He was a Spanish Jesuit priest in the first generation of the companions of St. Ignatius of Loyola. A very close collaborator of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, he was sent to explain to the various Jesuit communities of Europe the first draft of the Constitutions. He is known as the "Ignatian theologian" for having developed the theology behind Ignatian spirituality.