The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola are a set of more advanced prayer experiences through which one may be led by a trained spiritual director. In the thirty-day format one goes apart to a retreat house for an entire month devoted to these exercises.
In 1522, after his conversion the previous year, Ignatius of Loyola lived in a little cave in Manresa (near Montserrat in Spain) and underwent a whole range of remarkable experiences in prayer. He was inspired to set these down in writing in order to make them available to others.
While the precise forms will vary for different individuals, the Exercises tend to focus upon decisions to commit one’s life in some definite way service of Christ’s Kingdom in this world. For a few this might mean a new career or a new state in life; for most others it will mean a significant development within their present work and state in life.
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