The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius
Publisher: TAN Books
Publication Date: 1999-12-01
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The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola outline the rigorous self-examination and spiritual meditations St. Ignatius set forth. Readers will learn how to make a new beginning on the path to holiness, repenting of their sins and attaining freedom from Satan's power.
Though St. Ignatius wrote The Spiritual Exercises as a handbook for a four week guided retreat, this edition contains step by step explanations suitable for independent use over any time period.
This is the original TAN edition now with updated typesetting, fresh new cover, new size and quality binding, and the same trusted content.
I picked this book up for lent knowing it was going to be difficult, and I got exactly what I bargained for.
There is in no way something you can just pick up and implement in a single sitting or even a single reading. There is so much to this book that it definitely needs multiple reasons to fully implement to what is being asked of you without the use of a retreat center.
Getting past that, there is so much substance to these meditations. I have learned more about the horror and power that a single mortal sin holds over the course of the first week than I think I have ever learned in my entire life. There are so many small and quotable bits in these pages that hold so much power. St. Ignatius does not waste words, everything is deliberate and purposeful in aiding you to improving your spiritual life.
This is a book I will definitely be returning to in the future with greater motivation and openness.
I would recommend reading the book through once just to become familiar with what is being asked of me before diving in.
Truly powerful and worth every penny.
As Robert Gleason calls it, this book is "a complete guide and framework for achieving Christian perfection." The organization of the book is well-described in the introduction:
"The first week is designed to help the retreatant to purify his soul and put his life in order; the aim of the second week is to lead the soul to a greater knowledge and love for Jesus Christ; the third week is devoted to freeing the will from the psychological obstacles which stand in the way of a generous decision to follow Christ; and the fourth week is intended to purify the heart in the highest degree from false attachment to creatures, goods, or worldly ambition and honor."
While it is ideally for retreatants because they can devote time to these exercises, it can also be used on an individual basis. However, this is intended for people who have a serious conviction to model their lives in God's image. For all practical purposes, this book isn't for a single read-through, but rather to be used as a reference several times daily over the course of one to four months, depending on the spiritual progress of the exercitant.
This is not a book you're just going to pick up, read, feel daunted about what is required, and give up. The effectiveness and powerful nature of the meditations hit you in such a way, that it fills you with zeal, and somehow gets you excited to perform the exercises on a daily basis. Obviously there is always some difficulty or reluctance when it comes to incorporating a new routine into your life. But you will feel the desire to remain firm and steadfast, to see this thing through to allow the Holy Spirit take a hold of you.
Historically, the Ignatian method has delivered results, and it's plain to see from his Spiritual Exercises that when one follows it today in a steadfast manner, he will most definitely be a changed man.