The following pages present a framework for a self-guided retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
The retreat will consist of 32 Steps divided in four Phases (plus the “Contemplation to Attain the Love of God” leading to the aftermath of the retreat). Each Step is built up so that with the help of the given material you can do one or more sessions consisting of prayer, meditation, reflection, and sharing if more than one person does the retreat together. Whatever from this material is more significant for you, stay with it as long as you feel, do repetitions if you wish so to get the more fruit that is possible out of each Step.
Before beginning with the First Step you need to get familiar with the method of the Daily Examination of Consciousness. The practice of Examination will be a great help that you need to use during this retreat.
We encourage married couples to do this retreat together and to act also as guides for each other helping to recognize the direction these Steps are bringing them, and helping to sort through the emerging feelings, insights of each and making together their common decisions. Simple directions regarding what to do will be given along the way.
Our plan is that one should take one Step every two weeks but you can follow your own schedule. You can take one step daily, weekly or biweekly according the circumstances. We encourage you to experiment with the retreat to see how it works better for you, from the time of the sessions to the place where you do your reflections or sharing.
An excellent way of doing the online retreat is to arrange it in harmony with the liturgical year of the Church, that is to meditate during the exercises on the mysteries of faith that are celebrated in the same time also in the daily Mass and in other liturgical prayers of the Church. For this reason we provide here a Liturgical Calendar for the online retreat. (If you begin the retreat in August-September of the current year then you can join in time to follow this Calendar).
Besides the convenient time and place you will need a Bible and a notebook for recording your experiences. And of course you will need the desire to go through these Steps. You can contact us with questions or comment by e-mail.
The companion book to this retreat is available in paperback format from Lulu Press with the title:
You can use with benefit during this retreat also our Manual for Married Couples. This Manual includes also important Appendices which contain essential material for doing the Exercises, like meditations on episodes of the life of Jesus and guidelines for discernment and other guidelines.
It is not necessary for this retreat, but it might be interesting to take a look at the original text of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
We wish you a fruitful experience and pray for you who undertake this spiritual journey.
Let us begin then with the First Phase:
The end of the retreat:
The retreat ends with the Fourth Phase, but there is still one exercise that will serve as a crowning point of the retreat and as a transition to the aftermath, which we could call also the Fifth Phase.
St. Ignatius placed the magnificent Contemplation to Attain the Love of God after the four phases in the book of the Spiritual Exercises. We see this exercise as an experience of Pentecost, a possibility for a new effusion of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to bring over the graces received in this retreat fruitfully to the rest of our life.
Note: * We call for the four Phases Reforming, Conforming, Confirming and Transforming, names introduced for the Exercises Process in Bernard Tyrrell, S.J., Christotherapy II, (Eugene:Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1999), (in further references “Christotherapy II”). The expressions liberative (or purificative), illuminative, and unitive ways refer to the classic terminology for the stages of spiritual development
You can buy our Manual in a new revised edition from Lulu Press here below:
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