We are about to begin a new round of Spiritual Exercises. In the words of the Saint, the Exercises are “the best means that I can think of, experience and understand in this life, both to help a person improve himself and be able to benefit, help and bring profit to many others.” Here are some practical tips and instructions, of particular relevance if you are doing Ignatian Exercises online for the first time.
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In this post, you will find a suggested schedule for doing the Exercises in retreat from Holy Thursday night to Easter Sunday. The proposed schedule will need to be adapted to your own personal circumstances and sometimes even to the material we send since the preaching will not always be exactly 30 minutes. After listening/watching the points of meditation, 30 minutes of personal meditation should be done (we will explain how later), but this prayer time is not necessary after the talks.
For each of the 3 days, there is an entry on the page for each meditation point (five) and talk (one) on the schedule.
The material for the first meditation of each day is listened to/watched the night before.
The material for the Exercises, both the Meditations and Talks, is offered by YouTube video and Soundcloud audio (same content), and you will also have access to the corresponding text, which is not a literal transcription of the video, but rather a supplementary document that has references to the texts cited.
When these Exercises are done in retreat, they should be done (i) in exterior silence, without speaking to any other retreatants (ii) in interior silence, and (iii) without access to electronic devices (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) that break silence. If you have not downloaded the material before the Exercises and need to use the internet, we strongly suggest that you make every effort not to use any electronic device to view news or communicate with anyone. This can be a very ascetic exercises that will already help to bring order to your life…which is the goal of the Exercises.
During the Exercises, it is expected that you may need to consult with a priest. On the Exercises website, we have a group of priests available to respond to consultations.
I Take time away at the time of day that suits me best (exercises in daily life) or at the time assigned to me (exercises in retreat) and 📲💻 watch (listen to) the corresponding video (audio). If it is a “Talk,” the “exercise ends after viewing (hearing) the video (audio). If it is “Points for Meditation,” after viewing the video, I spend at least 30 minutes in personal meditation following these steps 📵 🔕:
👉Preparation (briefly at the beginning)
· 🙏I put myself in the presence of the Lord with the preparatory prayer EE  “Asking God Our Lord for grace so that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be purely ordered to the service and praise of His divine majesty.”
· 📜preamble(s): Saint Ignatius proposes a scene/story of what is being meditated or contemplated, and “making a composition of place” and sometimes “application of meaning”: imagining a physical site and what would be seen, heard, or smelled there with our senses.
· 📌request: asking God for what I want and desire to achieve through this meditation or contemplation.
⏳Body of the Meditation (most of our 30 min)
Meditate on the topic to be addressed, sometimes divided into points, exercising the three powers: memory, intelligence, and will. If it is a contemplation, we will have to use more imagination and be “there,” in the mystery being contemplated “like an unworthy slave.”
🚩Conclusion – Colloquies💬
(EE ) It is the most important moment, the affective prayer with the Blessed Virgin and/or with Our Lord Jesus Christ and/or with the Heavenly Father, speaking as a friend speaks with another, with the trust with which a son speaks with his father, as a servant with his lord, either asking for a grace, or blaming oneself for having done some wrong, or communicating things and asking for advice in them. The whole meditation or contemplation is ordered to this moment.
❓Examination of the Meditation
(EE ) How have I proceeded in this meditation or contemplation? If badly, I will look at the cause of the bad procedure, and discovering it, I will repent to amend myself in the future; if well, I will thank God Our Lord and proceed in the same way in the future.