Today has been a day of recollection. As I enter my last week of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I’m to review my journal and look for ideas/concepts/situations that remind me of how God has been moving in my life over the last 30+ weeks.
I hardly got through my first entry written on September 23rd, 2009, when I acknowledged just how present God has been to me throughout this time. As I flipped through the many pages of these daily entries, I was struck by the fact that this has been the first time I’ve really stuck with the task of journalling. I’m grateful that I’ll always have a record of all these many, many experiences, and I’m hoping that I’ll keep with it. I guess in some sense, this blog will also fulfill the role of a daily journal, but now I get to share my experiences with you 🙂
Through my reading of my journal, I was also reflecting on how much more disciplined I’ve become over the last several months. I’m a procrastinator by nature, I guess, although I do have pretty good follow-through once I start something. But you have to be disciplined if you want to get something out of this great legacy of St. Ignatius.
When he penned the Spiritual Exercises in the 1500’s, Ignatius was writing as a layman, and he intended the exercises for laypeople. Only later did he form the group that would eventually become the Society of Jesus.
There are two main ways to complete the exercises as Ignatius intended. The first way is to do a 30 day silent retreat, done with the help of a spiritual director. The second way, which is how I am doing them, is called the 19th Annotation, and is usually done over the span of 34 weeks. It can be done one on one with a spiritual director/guide or it can be done in a group setting. For those who are adventurous, it can even be done online through Creighton University.
I’ll be writing a lot more about the exercises in upcoming daily blogs, and may even create a separate page so as to do them justice.
I leave you with these words from the autobiography of St. Ignatius, entitled, A Pilgrim’s Journey. He was writing about himself when he wrote,
He was astonished at these changes, which he had never before experienced, and said to himself, “What kind of life is this that we are now beginning?”
So, as St. Ignatius points out, the end of the Exercises marks a new beginning. Where will the Wind take us?