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The Spiritual Exercises Retreat – Final Thoughts

 

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!

It’s difficult to find the words to adequately express my thoughts on what took place over the past 7 weeks. All I can say is that, for me, it was a life changing experience! According to the emails I received, many of you felt the same way. In fact, I had several people tell me that this was their “best Lent ever”…that is a VERY powerful statement!

Through the various meditations, we learned that we exist to “know, love and serve God in this life and live with Him forever in Heaven”. We also discovered that there are many things in our lives which hold us back from fully loving God. Hopefully, we have learned what some of these things are and taken steps to detach ourselves from them. It’s important to remember, however, that this retreat isn’t an “end”, but rather a “beginning”. We’re going to be making decisions and discovering inordinate attachments for the rest of our lives. By participating in the retreat, we’ve learned some techniques for dealing with these situations. According to the late Father John Hardon, “the vocal and mental prayers of the Spiritual Exercises have this twofold aim: that I may see myself as God sees me, and that I may give myself to Him without reserve.”

On Friday’s Following The Truth radio program, I presented the final topics of the Spirtual Exercises, as taught by Saint Ignatius:

1. Contemplation for Divine Love

2. Three Methods of Prayer

3. Rules for Thinking with the Church

I also recited the Suscipe, a prayer composed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. He recommends that all who made the Spiritual Exercises pray it each day:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

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