Spiritual Exercises

Highlands
Irish Jesuit Ashley Evans describes his spiritual journeying in the Highlands of Scotland.Sgurr Nan Each is not an impressive Munro mountain. It emerges gently on the east side of a ridge joining it to two larger Munros and it nestles humbly behind the high ridge of Sgurr Mor to the North. It is thus not visible from the road that runs from Inverness to Ullapool nor indeed is it visible from any surfaced road anywhere. It ranks a mere 266th among 282 Munros (a Munro being a Scottish mountain...
Photo by Gabrielle Cole via Unsplash
‘Gratitude, being nearly the greatest of human duties, is also nearly the most difficult,’ wrote G.K. Chesterton. Luckily, St Ignatius is on hand to help us to cultivate gratitude, so that our hearts may be disposed ‘to receive more, to appreciate more, to love and be loved more.’ Sarah Broscombe views gratitude through psychological, spiritual and Ignatian lenses, helping us to see how and why growing in gratitude is a priority as well as a joy. Virtually every language has words for it,...
The Farm St Church Camino in the steps of St Ignatius set off on Sunday for two weeks of walking and pilgrimage in northern Spain.The group of 19, led by Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, landed in Barcelona. Their first stop has been Verdu, at the Shrine and birthplace of St Peter Claver, the 17th century Jesuit priest known as the ‘slave to the slaves’ for his work with the slaves of what is modern day Colombia.“The opening Mass and the first day morning prayer were dedicated to the victims of human...
Pope Francis refused to answer reporters’ questions about a letter released on Sunday by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, instead urging reporters to draw their own conclusions about the former papal nuncio’s accusations. Austen Ivereigh explains that the roots of Francis’ response might be found in an article that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote in 1990, in which he claims silence is sometimes the only way to let the spirits reveal themselves. ‘When it’s our turn to live through a difficult...
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A new audio resource, Women of God, Women of the Cross, from the Jesuits in Britain introduces you to the women who encountered Jesus during his passion. Using our senses to enter into their stories as we listen to them is not an end in itself, says Gemma Simmonds CJ. The application of the senses, as Ignatius calls it, is an instrument of prayer and discernment, and one that extols faculties that have been – and, too often, still are – associated with women and disparaged. Of all the ways...
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It was precisely an exercise in discernment of spirits that enabled Rob Marsh SJ to offer this Ignatian introduction to the practice that will be the focus of our attention this Lent. Join him in a careful consideration of ‘one particular microsecond of one particular life, and one paragraph of many where Ignatius catalogues the way the good and bad spirit work’, and see an example of Ignatian discernment at work. Just a microsecond of my day:I am looking at my computer and hesitating to...
Sunset Credit Penny Hollick via Unsplash
Definition of afterglow1: a glow remaining where a light has disappeared2: a pleasant effect or feeling that lingers after something is done, experienced, or achievedWe all have experienced ‘the afterglow’ of a sunset when the sun has dipped below the horizon and the sky lights up in vivid colours.  Equally after a great experience, a wedding or a party we might bask in the afterglow of friendship and love.  If you are football fan like me, you might experience the afterglow of your...
Jigsaw Credit Hans-Peter Gauster via Unsplash
I was fascinated to come across the work of the psychologist Paul Bloom recently. In his book Against Empathy –  The Case for Rational Compassion, he challenges the received wisdom about the importance of empathy.  The ability to empathise, “to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” is rightly valued. We also know that all sorts of pathologies come from a lack of empathy - psychopaths, sociopaths etc. When Donald Trump tweets negatively about a particular group or country, we are...
Photo of woman on bench by Grant MacDonald at flickr.com
Are you familiar with The Way, another journal published by the Jesuits in Britain? Since 1961, The Way has been publishing articles about Christian spirituality, such as this piece by Tom Shufflebotham SJ on the place of the prayer of faith in the Ignatian tradition. Thinking Faith will be offering you one article from each future issue of The Way - why not explore the journal further? When I was 27, my Provincial inflicted me as a teacher – untrained – on schoolboys in Rhodesia/...
Nativity scene
Contemplating the Nativity, for St Ignatius, is not just a cerebral exercise; engaging with the mystery of the Incarnation requires all of our senses. Teresa White FCJ considers how our meeting with the gentle Christ child can effect a powerful transformation in us if are alive to the many ways in which we can receive the gift of his coming. Ignatius of Loyola, at the beginning of the Second Week of his Spiritual Exercises, encourages the practice of what he calls ‘the application of the...

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