St. Ignatius Loyola in prayer
Beg for the gift of prayer. Like the
Apostles who said to Jesus, “Lord teach us how to pray….This should be our
attitude. As Augustine says, “We are all beggars before God…”
Place yourself in the Presence of
God. Imagine that God is looking at you with tender love. If we are aware of somebody’s presence then
we pay more attention to him.
PLACE: In front of The BLESSED SACRAMENT would be
the ideal place.
Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
In any case, a place where there is quiet. Silence is very important. The example of Elijah and his mountain
experience. God spoke to him not in the noise, but in the silent breeze.
Prayer place/oratory. Make proper use of the images to help you to
Let us dedicate these Exercises to Mary who is our model. Two times in
the Gospel of Luke--- the Gospel on prayer and the Gospel of the Holy Spirit—we
find Mary pondering/meditating in her heart: in the visitation of the Shepherds
and the when the Holy Child was lost and found after three days’ search.
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
HOLY SPIRIT. He is the Interior Master and can help us to
pray. (Remember, Romans 8) He intercedes with ineffable groans.
“SPEAK O LORD FOR YOUR SERVANT IS
LISTENING.” (Samuel in the temple).
But remember that you are not
reading a “Normal” book, but the Bible that is truly “The Word of God.” (1ST Step in
Ignatian method is the use of the Memory).
10.THINK/Ponder/Reflect. CCC (The Catechism of the Catholic Church)
says that prayer can be compared to the wrestling match between Jacob and the
angel who wrestled the whole night. Indeed at times it can be a real struggle.
(2nd Ignatian step is Understanding) Take into account
the following questions. Who is present in the scene? Where is he? What is he doing? Why? What is the meaning of this happening? When
is this happening? How does this affect
me? In other words the who, what where,
when, why, and how of the scene. Remember that the Word of God is like a two
edged sword that can cut marrow from bone. It is active today as it was 2000
years ago. All of this is done not as
an academic exercise but as a means to entering into union with God.
The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary
11. AFFECTIONS OF THE
HEART. (3rd Ignatian step, the use of the Will). Now we
have arrived at the heart of meditation and it is the movement of the heart.
Once the will/heart has been sparked by some thought then we have arrived at
the essence of prayer. What might be some example of affections of the heart?
Here they are: love, thanksgiving, gratitude, praise, worship, wonder or awe,
contrition and sorrow, trust and confidence, desire to offer oneself as an
oblation, petition and supplication, fears and securities to be brought to the
Lord, anger, past wounds, confusion and doubts, questions (like Job), resting
in the Lord (Come to me all you who labor, Mt 11:28-30)), proposals to change,
yearning for God (Like the deer that yearns for the running streams, so my soul
longs for you , O Lord…)
12.DISTRACTIONS are par for the course. However, pay
attention to them because the CCC states that often our distractions are a
manifestation of a disordered affection and attachment that we might have and
God wants us to resolve or even sever it.
Can you identify with this man in deep prayer?
13.RETURN. It is totally in keeping with prayer to
return to the well—that is to revisit the Biblical passage. At times it might
seem as if the well is dry. Fishing. You
might even compare mental prayer to fishing. At times it seems as if no fish
are in the pond or they might be asleep or avoiding the line. Then zoom! The
bait is eaten and the catch. God at
times seems to hide Himself so that we search His face all the more ardently.
14. DRYNESS/ARIDITY. It could be that in prayer your soul is
going through a process of purification called aridity. This might be called a
“Desert-experience”. If one has no spiritual direction, the neophyte might be
deluded into believing that he is not praying but wasting time. On the
contrary, God is purifying his heart. The love is becoming all the more
pure. Remember the words of St. John of
the Cross: “Seek the God of consolations
and not the consolations of God.” This
great Mystical Doctor warns us of the danger of “Spiritual Gluttony”--- going
to prayer only to feel good and receive sensible delights. Married people cannot always be on a perpetual
honeymoon! Reality sets in quick in the married life as well as in the mystical
Desert experience in prayer. Aridity in prayer can purify our hearts.
15.PERSEVERANCE. A key note in success in prayer as well as
in the lives of the saints is the capital importance of perseverance. Jesus praises
the insistent widow who hounded the unbelieving judge simply because she did
not give up. Likewise, we should never give up in our pursuit of God in prayer.
The woman Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila, reminds us of this with
these poignant words: “We must have a
determined determination to never give up prayer.” Athletes are trained to fight until the end;
so athletes of Christ engaged in the Spiritual Exercises should fight and
persevere until the end of life, well- aware of the crown of glory that awaits
the winner in heaven!
Film Chariots of Fire. Persevere till the end!
16. HOLY HOUR: THE HOUR OF
POWER. Words of Archbishop Fulton J.
Sheen. This great “Servant of God” was faithful to his prayer--- his daily Holy
Hour—for more than fifty years as priest and many as a Bishop. Despite his busy
and hectic schedule he would always find time for his prayer that he called,
“The hour of power!”
17. COLLOQUY. This is a heart to heart conversation with
God. (Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman) One should always close with this conversation
with the Lord. However, one colloquy or many colloquies can be present during
the period of prayer. St. Teresa of Avila calls prayer as simply spending a
long time in silence with the Friend I know loves me! Great! Friendship with
18.TRIPLE COLLOQUY. Jesus said to St. Faustina that God
communicates with every soul in a different way. Like a snowflake or
fingerprints everybody has to learn his own prayer style. St. Ignatius invites
us to a Triple colloquy. Converse with Mary then end with the Hail Mary; then
with Jesus and pray the Anima Christi; finally converse with the heavenly
Father and end with the Our Father.
Triple Colloquy with Jesus, Mary, and Saint Joseph
19.REVISION. This is a very important step in Ignatian
meditation. It consists in a review of what happened during the course of the
meditation, specifically, reviewing how God spoke to you. Being aware of this
and noting this can be of great service to be aware of the different ways that
God communicates to you individually.
St. Max Kolbe and the double crown of purity and martyrdom
20.MARY! According to St. Louis de Montfort she is
the quickest, easiest and the most efficacious path to Jesus. All to Jesus
through Mary. Let us consecrate our prayer time to Mary, the Mother of God, the
Mother of the Church, and our Mother.