Q. 1. What are the Spiritual Exercises Of St. Ignatius Loyola?
A. 1. The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (Latin original: Exercitia spiritualia), composed from 1522–1524, are a set of Christian meditations, prayers and mental exercises, written by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th-century Spanish priest, theologian, and founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Divided into four thematic 'weeks' of variable length, designed to be carried out over a period of 28 to 30 days. They were composed with the intention of helping the retreatant to discern Jesus in his life, leading him to a personal commitment to follow him. Though the underlying spiritual outlook is Catholic, the exercises can also be undertaken by non-Catholics. The 'Spiritual Exercises' booklet was formally approved in 1548 by Paul III.
The 4 weeks focus on the following specific goal:
Week one: to “reform the deformed”—the focus of the first week is to recognize God's unconditional love and to come to terms with our failure and the failure of all of humanity to respond generously to that love.
Week two: to “conform the reformed”—the focus of the second week is to reflect on the person and life of Christ so that we may freely choose to love him and follow him more closely and faithfully.
Week three: to “confirm the conformed”—the focus of the third week is on the Passion and death of Jesus so as to share in and identify more closely with his suffering and to deepen our commitment to him.
Week four: to “transform the confirmed”—the focus of the fourth week is to grow in desire for Jesus to reveal the joy of his Resurrection and to embrace this joy as the foundation of our call to share in Christ's mission.