What are they?
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius were born from the saints own profound life of prayer. The exercises are an ordered sequence of meditations, prayers, and contemplations aimed at helping the one who is participating to find the will of God in his life. The goal is to help one to experience, discern and understand what God wants from him, and then to desire and choose it.
What are they for?
In a particular way, the Spiritual Exercises help to organize our daily life in accordance with the Divine Will, and even to discover the vocation to which God is calling me, if I have not yet decided.
These exercises help us to achieve nothing more or less than our holiness, because we can also define them as a practical method to reach sanctity with all the joy that that implies.
How can they help me?
The rhythm of modern life tends to lead people to fill their lives with more and more things and activities. Often, these things and activities leave us unsatisfied and confused because they are not directed towards our ultimate goal.
Here is the pivotal point of the spiritual exercises: they allow us to focus our lives on the most important things, leaving behind that which passes away. They help to give us clarity in our lives about the really important things. To know where we come from, where we are going, and what is it God wants from us here at this moment in our life.
“For it is not knowing much, but realizing and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul.”
― Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises
Could I really do them?
The spiritual exercises are meant to last for thirty days, in silence, under the guide of a preacher. Adaptions have been made and Spiritual Exercises can be shorter: eight days, five days, or simply over the weekend. Participating in the Spiritual Exercises, even just a weekend retreat, one leaves his everyday activities to come into contact with his Creator and Lord, giving space for His Divine Majesty to work in the soul. It is even possible to take part in the spiritual exercises online, setting aside time each day for prayer. (www.ejerciciosive.org)