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Spiritual Exercises Index


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The Resurrection of Christ
Faith in Our Lord’s resurrection from the dead is also a fact of recorded history. It is part of Catholic catechesis, which I wish to stress during this meditation. In other words, I want to bring out as clearly as I can the importance of explaining the mystery of the Resurrection, so that we in turn can pass on this revealed truth and its implications in the lives of others.
Sanctity Through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
My purpose in the present conference is to identify what I call the key features of the Spiritual Exercises. These key features of the Spiritual Exercises I number at seven. In the forty-minutes I have been given to share with you, I would like to communicate both with you and to you what I am convinced is nothing less than a divinely-provided means of performing moral miracles in changing ordinary Catholics into heroic Catholics, the kind that are needed to re-Christianize one once-Christian nation after another, including our own.
A Meditation on Liberty - Choice, Love and Sacrifice
I would like to address myself to the subject of liberty or freedom under three aspects which, if you wish, can be three points: liberty as choice, liberty as love, and liberty as sacrifice. Then, as we go along, I will make some short but, I hope, practical applications to our spiritual life.
How to Make a Thirty Day Private Retreat, Following the Spiritual Exercises
The Spiritual Exercises were written by St. Ignatius Loyola over a period of some ten years, from 1521 to 1533. They are based on three principal sources: Sacred Scripture, personal religious experience, and certain masters of the spiritual life, notably Thomas A. Kempis, the author of the Imitation of Christ. The Exercises were first officially approved by Pope Paul III on July 31, 1548, exactly eight years to the day before the death of St. Ignatius. Since then some forty Bishops of Rome have formally approved and praised the Exercises, and strongly recommended them for use by the faithful. In 1922, Pope Pius XI declared St. Ignatius the heavenly patron of all spiritual exercises and retreats.
Prospectus for a 30-Day Retreat According to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
First Day to Thirtieth Day Themes to use and corresponding Louis J. Puhl, S. J. Book Number.
The Call of Christians to the Apostolate
While the title of our conference is "The Call of Christians to the Apostolate", I would like to offer a subtitle, because I wish to concentrate on the laity. And consequently, to speak as passionately of the responsibility of the laity in the apostolate. Never in the history of Catholic Christianity has there been more emphasis on the responsibility of the laity in the apostolate. Even more specifically, never before, has been greater need for the laity to evangelize, especially in the apostolate of religious education. Everything in Christianity, everything depends on our faith.
Following the Spiritual Exercises
The Spiritual Exercises were written by St. Ignatius Loyola over a period of some ten years, from 1521 to 1533. They are based on three principal sources: Sacred Scripture, personal experience, and certain masters of the spiritual life, notably Thomas a Kempis, the author of Imitation of Christ.
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: The Principle and the Foundation
Now we begin with what Ignatius calls the Principle and Foundation. The name may sound strange, Principle and Foundation; the word principle refers rather to the mind providing the rational grounds based on faith for our lives here on earth with our destiny in eternity. The foundation stands for the motivation we need for our will and we need both. Our minds need to be enlightened by Divine revelation, on what is God’s will and our wills are to be motivated to conform to the Divine will and the two together than form what we call the Principle and Foundation. The principle and foundation has two basic truths of our faith, followed by four basic inclusions.
Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: Contemplation for Obtaining Divine Love
This is our closing meditation for the retreat that we have been making. It is on the contemplation for obtaining divine love. As we should expect, throughout the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius there is one pervasive theme and that is the love of God. It is no wonder then, that St. Ignatius would have the retreatants concentrate and you might say, synthesize, as we come to the close of the Spiritual Exercises with that which is a compendium of everything that Christianity stands for, namely the love of God.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (1 of 15) - Why Make a Retreat?
For the opening conference I thought I would do two things. First, remind ourselves as to why we are making a retreat or, in plainer English, what a retreat is all about…Secondly, in this conference I will do what I have not been doing for some years, and that is to open the retreat with the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (2 of 15) - The Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises
For the opening conference I thought I would do two things. First, remind ourselves as to why we are making a retreat or, in plainer English, what a retreat is all about…Secondly, in this conference I will do what I have not been doing for some years, and that is to open the retreat with the Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (3 of 15) - Self-Knowledge as a Sinner
The first step on the road to sanctity is a knowledge of Godís plan - His plan for the universe at large and His plan for me. In fact, a good descriptive definition of "vocation" is "God's plan for me". But if that is the first and fundamental basis on which we can build the edifice of holiness, the second is the knowledge of self.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (4 of 15) - Knowledge of Our Moral Limitations
Still reflecting on the human side of our nature, we might begin by observing that moral limitations are about the same as moral weaknesses. But this is not the same as sinful tendencies. In essence, sinful tendencies are common to all people and are, as we know, mainly the result of our fallen human nature and of our own past sinful conduct. Our moral limitations or weaknesses, however, are mainly concerned with our "personal character", though when I speak of it, I like to distinguish between what is personal and what is character: personal has to do with our personality, whereas character has to do with—character!
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (5 of 15) - Our Capacity for Sacrifice
For our present conference, I suggest that we reflect on what might be called the obverse of reflection on our past sins and moral weaknesses, and that we reflect on the self-knowledge of our past virtues and spiritual potential.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (6 of 15) - Generosity
We are on the subject of self-knowledge, and specifically we are asking ourselves how we can better serve God by improving our knowledge of ourselves. We are still considering our spiritual potential and more specifically our capacity for sacrifice and for generosity. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, one is not quite the other; sacrifice is not exactly generosity.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (7 of 15) - Christ, Our Light
Consequently, it is not only surprising but should be obvious that what the Church first needs today is for her members to deepen and clarify and strengthen their faith convictions. If their faith is what it should be, all else has the promise of a true renaissance in piety and the service of one's neighbor. But if their faith remains weak or confused, or contaminated with error, the bright promise of a reformation in the Catholic Church will turn out to be a dream or, worse still, a deceptive mirage.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (8 of 15) - Christ, Our Hope
We do not have to go far to find a reason for this extraordinary preoccupation with hope today. There is so much to discourage even the most sanguine observer of world events in our day. In the Catholic Church we are seeing the most extensive defection from priestly and religious commitment certainly in the past five hundred years and perhaps in all of the Church's history. There is confusion in religious education, infidelity in Christian marriage, and the spectacle of a whole nation practicing genocide by contraception and induced abortion on a scale unparalleled in the annals of mankind.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (9 of 15) - Christ and the World
Not the least difficulty we face, however, is to know not so much what Christ meant by the world, because He meant many things but how He wants us to look at the world and deal with it on all the principal levels of our meeting the world.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (10 of 15) - Christ, Our Strength
We do not normally think of Christ or speak of Him as our strength. More frequently we refer to Him in the terms He used of Himself when He said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. Moreover, we usually ask our Lord to give us strength, but we seldom think of Him precisely as not only giving us strength, but as being our strength. What, then, do we mean when we talk about the Savior as literally the strength on which we rely and without which—better, without whom—we would be unequal to the trials of life?
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (11 of 15) - Decision Making in the Spiritual Life
If there is anything characteristic about Saint Ignatius, it is his maxim that people make up their minds and decide with their wills. Perhaps a one word description of Ignatian spirituality would be "decisiveness". However, quite apart from this being characteristic of Ignatius, it is also essential to a life of Christian perfection. Indeed, without making both long and short range decisions, holiness is a dream. It will never be achieved.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (12 of 15) - The Sacrifice of the Mass
We know that in Sacred Writing and in the teachings of the Church, the Mass has acquired a variety of synonymous names. It is called the Eucharistic Sacrifice, the Eucharistic Liturgy, or simply, the Liturgy; it is the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Sacrifice, or the Sacrifice of the Altar… All of this reflects the richness of mystery revealed to us by Christ when He instituted the Mass on the night before He died. It also indicates that there has been a remarkable development of doctrine regarding the Mass.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (13 of 15) - The Real Presence and Sanctity
In speaking about holiness it is remarkable how we can overlook the obvious. For example it is obvious that we cannot become holy unless we obtain the extraordinary graces needed to reach sanctity. Hearing about holiness; reading about it; even seeing holiness, does not make one holy. We need grace. It is equally obvious that the graces we need must come to us from Christ since as He told us, "Without Me you can do nothing". If that nothing refers even to salvation, it most certainly refers to sanctification.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (14 of 15) - The Primacy of Peter
Rather surprisingly, Saint Ignatius makes a great deal of the appearances of Christ after the Resurrection. He recounts no less than fourteen appearances. Also, but not so surprisingly, Ignatius believed that Christ's first appearance after His rising from the dead, was to His Mother Mary.
Ignatian Retreat - August 1975 (15 of 15) - The Holy Spirit and Community Life
We are hearing so many things about the Holy Spirit these days that it might be well to reflect on the sequence of events which took place on Pentecost Sunday. My plan is first to give the verses from the Acts of the Apostles in which Saint Luke describes what happened at Pentecost in the actual descent of the Holy Spirit and then what happened immediately after Peter's sermon, where he himself was inspired by the Spirit, and how that same Spirit affected and began to shape the first converts. Then we shall reflect separately on the prominent features of what the Holy Spirit does when he descends on the faithful.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (1 of 19) - What is Prayer?
The subject of prayer may seem to be a very common place topic. But it is not. With all the interesting subjects to write about, why, of all the prosaic things to still say more about prayer? We might consider that not everything interesting is important, and not everything important is instructive—whereas I think the subject of prayer is all three.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (2 of 19) - Why Should We Pray?
Why pray? We must pray, because God is God and because we are we. This is not a clever phrase; it is at the heart of human existence and the bedrock of our faith. Prayer is so universal among believing mankind as to almost describe believing mankind. It is also insisted upon in Christian revelation. It must be important. It is not only important; it is indispensable. It is essential because it answers the two most fundamental statements we can make about God and ourselves.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (3 of 19) - The Corporate Witness of Religious Life
We are to be witnesses of holiness to a world that is fast becoming secularized and that acutely needs such a witness if the teachings of Christ are to be effective in cultures that from one viewpoint are more advanced than ever before in history. So they are. But progress creates problems. Just because of this scientific and secular development, these cultures (and especially our own) are running to destruction where and insofar as they lack the vision that only Christ's message to mankind can give.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (4 of 19) - Faith: The Foundation of the Christian Life
First, we will ask and briefly answer the question, "What is faith?" Then, more pertinently, "Why is it important?" And finally, "How can we, who have the faith, grow and develop in this virtue which is the substratum of everything else?"
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (5 of 19) - Sacred Scripture As Nourishment for the Christian Faith
The Council tells us that the Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the Eucharistic Body of the Lord. Why so? Because especially in the Sacred Liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful two kinds of Bread of Life, one from the table of God's Word, and the other from the table of Christ's Body.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (6 of 19) - Jesus Christ - The Master Theme of the Bible
The Second Vatican Council told us not only how important the Sacred Scriptures are, but also that the Scriptures are to be the source of our spiritual instruction and especially inspiration. The Church has also gone on record in recommending how we might better profit from the Sacred Scriptures. The Council insisted that there be easy access to the Scriptures. The variety of editions and translations of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is one development of that recommendation.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (7 of 19) - The Eucharist as the Living Christ
In large measure the crisis of faith within Catholic ranks today is particularly a crisis of faith regarding the Eucharist. Although there are many reasons, perhaps the most dramatic is doubt in the reality of Christ's presence in the Blessed Sacrament…Let us focus on two features of this mystery, first to consider the Eucharist as Reality and then to reflect on the Eucharist as Presence.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (8 of 19) - The Lord's Prayer: A Synthesis of Christianity
The Lord's Prayer is the only prayer that Christ taught directly to His apostles and through them has been teaching the human race. It is an eminently practical capsulization of the faith, because it both tells us what to pray about and how we should pray. Over the centuries, notably by the Fathers of the Church, it has been called the most efficacious prayer we have, outside of the Sacraments themselves.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (9 of 19) - Generosity and Happiness - The Eight Beatitudes
We have native tendencies in us that tyrannize us, which we so complacently call our "passions". What we talk about as the Seven Capital Sins, I like to call our "Seven Basic Tendencies" as fallen human beings. To ignore the fact that we have to war against ourselves and against the seductions of the evil all around us would be folly.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (10 of 19) - The Evil Spirit in Conflict with Christ and His Followers
A balanced understanding of Christ and His Church includes the realization of the conflict with the evil spirit or, as Saint John calls him, the spirit of darkness. Until not so long ago it was not acceptable to even talk about the devil; but all of a sudden it became quite popular. Though much of the popularity is not very deep, it does indicate an instinctive realization in man's heart that there is a world of spirits besides the world of sense, space and time; and not only is there a spirit world which is good but, given the sheer magnitude of evil in the world, there must be in addition to human malice, invisible malice that is at work in the human race today.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (11 of 19) - Discernment of Spirits
Notice that the subject of "Discernment of Spirits" implies a plurality and especially a distinction between one kind of spirit and another. We know from both the teaching of the Church and our own experience that serving God and following Christ is not just a straight, easy, and smooth path. By its very definition it involves conflict and Christ went out of His way to impress us with that fact. This conflict is not only with or within ourselves; or with the world, the human beings outside of us; but also, and mainly for our present purpose, it involves a conflict with the evil spirit.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (12 of 19) - Holy Communion and the Practice of Charity
It is common knowledge that the Holy Eucharist is the center, not only of our faith but of our spiritual life. What may not be so evident, however, is that the cardinal virtue of Christianity, the practice of charity, is intimately tied in with the Sacrament of God's love. We know this from the fact that at the Last Supper Christ did two things, and these two will be the objects of our reflections. He first instituted the Blessed Sacrament; then He gave us His mandate on the practice of charity. In order to appreciate the implications of this relationship, we might profitably look at Christ's teaching on charity and ask ourselves what is distinctive about the love that Christ came to teach, indeed command, at the Last Supper; and then see how the practice of this kind of charity is dependent upon our receiving the graces which come to us only from the Eucharist.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (13 of 19) - Love of God
There are many reasons why the love of God should be the object of our frequent meditation and of our prayer. The main reason is that in order to serve God the way we should, although we need a substratum of mental condition, we have to see the intellectual reasons why God ought to be served. Nevertheless, more than condition we need commitment.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (14 of 19) - Christ's Passion - God's Love
We know from reading the writings of the saints and the great friends of God that there are many facets of Christ's Passion which appeal to them and on which they often built an elaborate analysis of the Redemption to make it, as it should be, the cornerstone of all authentic spirituality. But the one aspect around which everything else revolves is our view of the Passion as the most eloquent expression of God's love for man.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (15 of 19) - The Passion of Christ and Our Strength
There are two ways that we can look at Christ's Passion. We can see it as the great sign, indeed sacrament, of God's love for us in the sense that God Himself could not have done more than have become man; only as man could He suffer and prove that He loves us by that suffering, which is the highest indication and index of love. The first and, in a way, primary attitude that we ought to have towards Christ's Passion, to appreciate God's love for us in the Redemption, is to see it as the great motivating reason for our sacrificial love of God in return. Looking upon what God is and has done for us as the motive for our responding in return is the foundation of our faith.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (16 of 19) - The Resurrection of Christ and Our Experience of Peace
If there is one hidden theme in the New Testament, it is the fact that while Christ certainly wants His followers to imitate Him in carrying His cross and to deny themselves to prove that they are His disciples, at the same time He promises them not only an eventual and eternal glory with Him in heaven, but already on this earth, a deep-souled happiness.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (17 of 19) - Pentecost: The Happiness of Possession of the Truth
We know that our Divine Savior placed special emphasis on the fact that what He had begun during His visible stay on earth would be continued and confirmed by the Spirit that He and the Father would send on those who believe. We call them "Promises of our Lord", or simply "The Promise of the Holy Spirit", by which we are assured that after Christ's Ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Church that He founded would continue being guided by His Spirit.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (18 of 19) - The Holy Spirit as Power (Gifts of Piety - Fortitude - Fear of the Lord)
We speak of the Holy Spirit in many different ways: as Love, as Gift, as the Paraclete, as the Advocate. All of these titles are biblical and identify some of the profound attributes of the Spirit promised by Christ before His Ascension into Heaven. But there is one that we especially need to recognize today and that is the Spirit as Power.
Ignatian Retreat - July 1974 (19 of 19) - The Promise of Heaven
It is important, even indispensable, that we reflect on the promise of heaven that lies ahead of us. First because happiness on earth, even at its best, is mixed with sorrow. We know that it is not fully satisfying, that it is exceedingly fragile and is very costly in sacrifice. We are constantly reminded by our faith and our conscience that it is highly conditional and above all transitory, for we must all soon die.





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