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Ten Things You Probably Did Not Know About St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises (SpEx)

Ten Things You Probably Did Not Know About The Spiritual Exercises (SpEx) Of St. Ignatius Of Loyola
  1. The last word of the SpEx is the word love in its highest divine expression. In ancient Greek ἀγάπη, agapē, i.e., divine love.
  2. The first sketches of the SpEx included artistic Gospel illustrations for the retreatant to contemplate on (either the retreatant did not have access to the text or did not know how to read). See pictures below.
  3. It is said that in the state of desolation one should not change anything (decisions which would change directions already taken) except one, to pray more.
  4. One of the oft repeated words in the SpEx is etc. (et cetera).
  5. The last verse of the Take Lord and Receive prayer has been often translated as "... give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me." In the original Spanish, what St. Ignatius most probably had in mind was "Give me only the love of you, and together with it, your grace, that is enough for me."
  6. According to the theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, "choice" or "election" is the center of the SpEx, and they are directed to choosing God's choice, i.e., ultimately to a self-abandonment to God. This is also attested by the late Superior General Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ in the video clip above.
  7. For four years St. Ignatius did not give the full SpEx to St. Peter Favre because, by Ignatius' own admission, Favre had a terrible fear of God. Yet, according to Ignatius' estimation, Peter Favre became one of the best givers of the SpEx.
  8. Desolations are not necessarily bad. They motivate us to persevere. Desolation together with consolation act like a see-saw: desolation prevents too much elation from turning into pride.
  9. The SpEx led to the imprisonement of St. Ignatius for 42 days by Inquisition authorities. The book was suspected to have "alumbrado" teachings which were deemed "scandalous and heretical." No wonder the SpEx took 25 years before St. Ignatius allowed it to be published out of great precaution.
  10. St. Ignatius admitted that the full 30-day SpEx is not for everyone.

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ














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