Since the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius were originally meant to be done over the course of a month, the thematic content is arranged in “weeks”. Of course, when you stretch them out over nine months, these “weeks” get much longer! And depending on your experience, and perhaps your spiritual director, some weeks may take longer than others. For example, one week focuses on “sin”—being present to our brokenness and failings and all the ways they affect life and relationship—but BEFORE that week, there is a foundational piece that needs to be internalized: God’s love. In the beginning of the Exercises, there is space and time made to spend time leaning into our belovedness—until it really sinks in—before moving into things that might bring up old shame or fear (and perhaps trigger performative ways of being rather than relational ones). Some spiritual directors will even keep you in that preparatory/foundational part of the Exercises until you are well and truly grounded in Love (of course, this theme continues throughout the exercises as well, and it will look different for each director/participant!). The other weeks move through the life of Christ, entering in imaginatively alongside him—from his birth, through various points in his ministry, and into his passion and resurrection—all through contemplation of gospel passages. This Ignatian style contemplation of the stories of Jesus’ life in the gospels may feel different from other ways you have approached Scripture in the past. It is not parsing out meaning from the words and their contexts, etc. It is *entering into* the story yourself in your imagination, and engaging with Jesus in conversational ways. We have done imaginative Ignatian meditations in this space before, and we will again this week! But as you hear some of those details of how the Exercises play out, what comes up in you? Are you drawn to them? (Or perhaps repelled in some way?) What questions do you have?

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-08-29 14:10:09 UTC