Hence, considering how gifted we are,

Each one of us can say with great affection:

“Take Lord, receive”.


To introduce participants to the Spiritual exercises and consider what is next on our (Ignatian) Spiritual Journey.


  • To help people have an understanding of the lived experience of the Exercises.
  • To offer information about the contents and ways of doing the Exercises.
  • To provide a prayerful opportunity to consider the movements of the Exercises.
  • How God is inviting you now?
  • What has grown and is growing?
  • What are the desires for the future and what is needed for the journey?


  • Welcome and Stilling
  • Input on the Exercises
  • Sharing in pairs “What did you hear”?
  • Feedback and Input on Prayer (GPRL Fruits?)
  • Sharing Groups
  • Break
  • Reflection on the prayer material 
  • Individual Prayer
  • Feedback
  • Closing 

As you know, my great desire was always to tell people about God and God’s grace, and about Jesus … both crucified and risen, so that my brothers and sisters would experience the freedom of God.

I wanted to bring the same message as the church had always brought … and yet, I felt I could put this in a new way. Why was this so?

I had a direct encounter with God, particularly during those months at Manresa, where God personally taught me like a school boy.

Yes, I, Ignatius of Loyola, Inigo as they called me, I knew God … Father, Son and Spirit … nameless and unfathomable, mysterious and yet near … bestowing themselves upon me in a manner beyond all concrete imaginings.

I knew God clearly in such nearness and grace as was impossible to confound or mistake. God, God’s very self …

I knew God, as you would say in your modern world — experientially, even if knowing God face to face, as I do now, is again different … and yet … somehow the same.

This is grace … gift …

I believe that God … Father, Son and Spirit … desires to give this gift of God’s self to all who desire to be open to it.

This grace that I received during those days at Manresa, was not something that I considered a special privilege for myself or a chosen few.

Therefore, I set down the structure of this experience in a little manual which I called The Spiritual Exercises.

Do you desire that the Father, Son and Spirit, share themselves with you?

Do you desire to base your life choices and decisions on this personal sharing and communication? Then, by all means, enter into these Spiritual Exercises. But you will have to pay a price —

the price is your time; the price is your patience;

the price is putting aside, for almost a year, frenetic occupations, pressing decisions, that will scatter your energies and leave you so unfocused that you will not be able to give yourself to the daily moments of solitude that my Spiritual Exercises presume.

the price is commitment to prayer, each day, at a special time; perhaps the best time. More prayer, possibly, and more focus in your prayer than you have been used to.

the price is waiting for God to influence your being and trusting God to do so.

This is the goal of the Spiritual Exercises journey …

to find God …

to experience God …

to return love for love …

in the choices you make.

What is my hope?

My hope is that week by week, slowly and gradually,

you will develop a greater ability, a greater facility,

in entering the mystery of God

You can then experience God’s love

the way I was able to experience God’s love.

My hope is that you will grow in Spiritual Freedom

and in union and love …

deep love with Jesus, my risen Lord and King.

With all the communion of saints,  I am interceding on your behalf …

that at some point in your life, you will be affected by God’s power,

that all the desires of your heart and the actions and decisions

that flow from these desires, will be oriented towards God,

who is more than both Mother and Father to us

and towards God’s service and praise.

We pray that you may grow in the awareness of God’s continuous presence in your everyday experiences.

Then, later, living in faith and meditating on the word of God,

you will be able to find God always and everywhere,

seek God’s will in events and see Jesus, the Lord, in all people

and in all their struggles for liberation;

you will be able to make good judgements

and correct decisions in all you do and in all you are.

I finish here with two statements that will be given again to you towards the last weeks of the Spiritual Exercises journey.

The first  is that love is manifested in deeds, not just in words

God’s love, poured into your heart, will move you towards your sisters and brothers.

The second is that love consists in a mutual sharing by the two parties involvedthe lover gives to and shares with the beloved all that the lover has,

YOU are the beloved, God the lover, who desires to share life intimately with you.

And you in turn will offer yourself in trust and love to the One who knows you

and loves you beyond your understanding and to the service of God.

Living out God´s dream for you and for the world.

In the letter by St Ignatius (link also below) what aspects touch your heart?

Enter into a dialogue with God about these aspects?  This can be over various prayer sessions.

A Letter from St Ignatius


That we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have watched and touched with our hands, The Word of Life…….this is our theme.

(1 John,1:1)

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, remembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not Known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea”

(T.S Elliot)

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

(John 15:15-17)

Extract from Henri Nouwen, Life of the Beloved


A peaceful, joyful meal together belongs to the greatest moments of life. Don’t you think that our desire to eat together is an expression of our even deeper desire to be food for one another?  Don’t we sometimes say: `That was a very nurturing conversation: that was a restoring time?´  I think our deepest human desire is to give ourselves to each other as a source of physical, emotional and spiritual growth. As the Beloved ones, our greatest fulfilment lies in becoming bread for the world. That is the most intimate expression of our desire to give ourselves to one another. Just as bread needs to be broken in order to be given, so, too, do our lives.

I discover more and more that the greatest gift I have to offer is my own joy of living; my own inner peace; my own silence and solitude, my own sense of well-being. When I ask myself, ´Who helps me most´? I must answer, ´The One who is willing to share his or her life with me.´  We may only have a few talents but we have many gifts. Our gifts are the many ways we express our humanity. They are part of who we are: friendship, kindness, patience, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, love, peace, trust and many others. These are the gifts we have to offer to each other.

The fruitfulness of our little life, once we recognise and live it as the life of the Beloved, is beyond anything we ourselves can imagine. Imagine that in the centre of your heart, you trust that your smiles and handshakes, your embraces and kisses are only the early signs of a world-wide community of love and peace. Our lives as the Beloved bear fruit beyond our wildest imagining.

Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous; teach me to serve you as you deserve,

to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds,

to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to seek reward,

except that of knowing that I do your will.

Amen.                                                                                                                              (Ignatius of Loyola)

The Energy of Life itself


We tend to think that if we desire something, it is probably something we ought not to want or to have. But think about it: without desire we would never get up in the morning.  We would never have ventured beyond the front door.  We would never have read a book or learned something new.  No desire means no life; no growth, no change. Desire is what makes two people create a third person.  Desire is what makes crocuses push up through the late winter soil.  Desire is energy, the energy of creativity, the energy of life itself.  So let’s not be too hard on desire.

Margaret Silf, Wise Choices

  1. In prayer, continue with any aspects of the letter that speaks to your heart or mind. How is God responding and remember to journal.
  2. If interested read the attached articles and reflect on these. What speaks to you?


If interested the movie Of Gods and Menis a wonderful example of group discernment.