The Institute for Priestly Formation offers the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola in the 30-day retreat format.
In describing the importance of Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, Pope Benedict XVI described the retreat as a “a strong experience of God, sustained by listening to his word, understood and welcomed in one’s personal life under the action of the Holy Spirit, which in a climate of silence, prayer and by means of a spiritual guide, offer the capacity of discernment in order to purify the heart, convert one’s life, follow Christ, and fulfill one’s own mission in the Church and in the world.”
The experience of the Spiritual Exercises can be life transforming.
For those who desire to intimately encounter the person of Jesus Christ.
“Through the Spiritual Exercises I was able to have an intimate encounter with Christ. I was able to find and discover a new way of praying, which I am planning to use for the rest of my life.”
Rev. Jorge Garcia, Priest, Diocese of San Bernardino, 2014
For those who desire to experience the love of God in life-changing way.
“I experienced a deep friendship with Jesus Christ, unlike ever before. It is fresh, new, alive and real; there was a death to the ‘notional’ idea of Christ.”
Rev. Brian Welter, Priest, Mundelein Seminary, Illinois, 2014
For those who desire clarity in discerning God’s will in their life.
“To use the words of St. Paul, I’ve received more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined.”
Jeff Barnish, Seminarian, Diocese of Cleveland, 2014
The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola
- As a fifteenth-century Spanish soldier, Ignatius Loyola experienced, amid his own desires for fame and glory, Jesus’ Spirit indwelling and at work in his heart. During a period of convalescence after being wounded in battle, Ignatius’ deep desires were honestly and generously allowed to be engaged in prayer with the Word of God, and he experienced a personal connectedness that transformed the inner direction of his desires. Awe and wonder were engendered as well as the desire to experience more of Jesus’ love in day-to-day companionship. Ignatius experienced, amid his desires, the surprise of being pursued by a God who actively loves him. Ignatius discovered in the dynamics of human desires the abiding miracle of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit who desires and yearns for us to have an ever deeper relationship with Jesus. From this experience of discovery, Ignatius wrote his map for the human heart’s interior journey into God’s Heart, the Spiritual Exercises.
- The Spiritual Exercises are a type of map, a map for the human heart to follow in prayerful meditation and contemplation. To follow these exercises and their engagement of the heart brings one into intimate contact with the living Spirit of Jesus, Lord of all consolation. If the book called the Spiritual Exercises is bought and read, the experience is dry, like reading a telephone directory. To actually experience the Spiritual Exercises one must follow them with a spiritual director who provides guidelines for entrance into an interpersonal dynamic in the inner heart, a dynamic that is evident in the inner direction and powers of human desiring. In the 30-day format the retreatant usually prays four to five hours daily and sees the spiritual director an hour each day. Eucharistic liturgy is also celebrated on a daily basis.
- During the retreat, participants experience in their hearts God’s invitations to be loved, reconciled, and called to live in companionship with Jesus’ living Spirit. This entails some type of sharing in Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection while making the Spiritual Exercises. The paschal mystery is tasted through the image of God, alive in the retreatant’s heart, being placed in dialogue with the experience of the Holy Spirit’s consoling activity in this mystery. It is a mystery to be lived out in day-to-day faith following the conclusion of the retreat.