MAGNANIMITY. In Annotation # 5 in the text of the
Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius emphasizes the capital importance of being
truly generous with God. God rejoices
heartily in a generous soul; He shuns and holds back graces to a lazy
soul. Indeed, God cannot be outdone in
generosity. God takes more pleasure in
one soul who wants to become a saint than in thousands of mediocre souls. May
our Lady’s Fiat/her “Yes” to God through the Archangel Gabriel be our
TIME AND PLACE.
Once again we remind and
encourage our retreatants to find a time and a place for prayer and to be
exceedingly faithful to your time of prayer.
Remember the words of the “Doctor of prayer”, St. Teresa of Avila: “We
must have a determined determination to never give up prayer.” Our salvation
and the salvation of our family members as well as the salvation of the world
depends on prayer warriors, like Moses, whose elevated arms that won the battle
for the Israelites against the Amalekites!
Method is not an end but a
means to an end and can prove helpful to beginners in their prayer life, but
also it can prove helpful to those who have experience in prayer, especially in
moments of sadness, confusion, disorientation, discouragement--- in other
words, in times of DESOLATION!
THE METHOD STEPS: REMEMBER
THEM AND APPLY THEM:
Place yourself in the Presence of
Imagine that God is looking at you
with immense love.
Ask Mary to pray with you and to pray
for you and be at your side during the time of your meditation.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you,
calling to mind Romans 8. “We do not know how to pray as we ought. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us with
ineffable groans so that we can say “Abba”, Father.”
READ SLOWLY THE TEXT: SPEAK O LORD, YOUR
SERVANT IS LISTENING! In reading remember that indeed it is God
Himself that is speaking to you. The Bible is defined as the “Word of God” and
it is God Himself that yearns to speak to you, more than you want to speak to
Once the word/ image/ idea/ scene touches your heart, then stop and
open up to the Lord in a friendly, trusting and loving dialogue. Love, thanksgiving, adoration, oblation,
sorrow and contrition, wonder, blessing, fears and worries, anxieties and uncertainties,
plans and projects, and petitions and supplications--- all of these and many
more—are the sentiments that flow from the heart and can be the fruitful
expression of the “Heart to Heart colloquy” with the Lord. If the whole Hour is
spent relishing even one of those sentiments, bingo! Just stay there! That’s
where God is present and wants to remain!
DISTRACTIONS! Often these reveal our disordered
attachments; this shows that we have not arrived yet at that “Holy
indifference”, true freedom of spirit that we are called to!
Read/reread the text. Sometimes we have to go back to the well and
draw out water. God sometimes reveals Himself after two or more readings.
Meditate means to ponder and to ruminate and go over again and again in our
hearts like Mary.
with Colloquy/ triple colloquy and formal prayer. In our prayer period it is good to end in
conversation with God. Also it could be
a double or triple colloquy. Start with Mary, then with Jesus and end with a
conversation with God the Father and closing with the Our Father.
Never forget the “Revision”, meaning to “re-see”
to review, to replay the film of the prayer period. Why? For various reasons! First, as a
discipline. Second, so that you can see where God was and what he was saying.
Third, for the sharing Protocol. Fourth, accountability.
DRYNESS IN PRAYER. This does not mean that your prayer is poor,
but it could even be a sign of spiritual progress. If there exists a dry longing for God in
prayer and there is true faithfulness and good will, God could be purifying
your soul as gold in the fire. Remember
the words of St. John of the Cross:
“Seek the God of consolations and not the consolations of God.”
Otherwise there is the danger of “Spiritual gluttony”.
However, if it is such that
one’s conscience is not at peace due to some unconfessed sin, then sacramental
confession should be pursued. If we hurt
our friend, we apologize and then share joyfully. Jesus is our best of Friends
and if we hurt Him we should apologize sacramentally through the Sacrament of
Forgiveness! Jesus is quick to forgive
and slow to anger, always!
AVOID EXCESSIVE TALK AND SINS OF THE
TONGUE! St Teresa of Avila gives us the “Acid-test”
of progress in prayer: a parallel growth in the practice of virtue, or in other
words, growth in holiness. A major obstacle could be a “loose tongue”. The books of wisdom and Saint James chapter
3 state with unequivocal clarity that the true man/woman of God must be intent
on curbing one’s tongue. In the Diary of
St. Faustina, Jesus cautioned her on the danger of excessive speech! Remember the advice of St. Bonaventure: “We should open our mouth to praise God,
accuse ourselves and to edify our neighbor.” Not bad advice, from a saint!
CALL TO MIND ALL THE BLESSINGS THAT FLOW FROM
MEDITATION! The devil tempts us into believing that by
praying we are wasting our time. Relatives are calling us fanatics. More
crosses seem to be coming our way. Life in the past seemed easier and more pleasurable! In other words, when we decide to follow the
Lord, we must be prepared for battle! Remember that the battle time is short,
but the reward is great for us--- the eternal resting meadows in heaven with
the Good Shepherd. Furthermore, many family members who are either mediocre or
living far from the Lord could be converted by a fervent, faithful, and fiery
saint that is formed by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola!
SHARE HUMBLY, FAIITHFULLY, AND IN CHARITY.
Saint Ignatius underlines the
extreme importance of not walking alone in the spiritual journey. Jesus tracked
down the sad, forlorn and depressed disciples on the road to Emmaus. The devil prefers isolating us and separating
us from the community. Jesus lives in family, the Trinity; He was born into a
human family with St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Jesus also chose to
form the family, the church. Sharing our meditations enriches others, ourselves,
the Church and brings joy to the Heart of God!
10. BRING OTHERS!
Jesus first said, “Come and
then go!” The joy and blessings that you
have received freely from the Lord you should be desirous to share with others,
by bringing them to the Program of the Spiritual Exercises. For
that reason St Ignatius in the Contemplation to attain love, says that true
love consists in sharing one’s gifts with others. What better gift than to
share Jesus with others and He is the real center of the Spiritual
Exercises. We beg over and over again:
“Lord I beg for intimate knowledge of you, that I love you more ardently and
follow you more closely.”