The Spiritual Exercises
"The Spiritual Exercises are concerned with letting the Creator and the creature, as Ignatius says, deal immediately with each other. It is nothing other than this experience to which Ignatius in the Exercises wants to lead a person." Karl Rahner, S.J. (1904-1984)
For nearly five hundred years, the Spiritual Exercises have changed the way of thinking and living of innumerable people from all walks of life. They are the source and inspiration of all that we do here in Manresa. So, you may ask, what are the Spiritual Exercises?
First of all, the Spiritual Exercises is a little book written by Saint Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, in the sixteenth century. Since then, it has had an enormous influence on the lives of very many people seeking greater intimacy with God and a greater sense of purpose in their lives.
Saint Ignatius liked to speak of himself as a pilgrim on a journey through life, and his book is the fruit of his reflections on that journey, as well as on his experience of helping others on their way to God.
It is not an academic treatise on the spiritual life, but rather a practical handbook to help people come to know the God of love active in their lives, to face the obstacles that distort their relationship with God and with others, and to follow Christ in the concrete choices of their lives.
So, the Spiritual Exercises is not a book to be read from cover to cover like most other books. It is more like a guidebook or a map aimed at helping people to negotiate the journey of life. It's filled with concrete words of wisdom, not primarily for the one making the journey, but more especially for the person who accompanies the pilgrim along the way.
The Spiritual Exercises in their fullest form are made as a silent retreat over a thirty-day period, or in daily life over a span of many months. Following the lead of Saint Ignatius himself, however, many shorter adaptations of the Spiritual Exercises can be made, from eight days to just a few hours. These adaptations are not condensed versions of the Spiritual Exercises, but they are rooted in the insights and dynamic which are at the heart of Ignatian spirituality.
For over sixty years now, we in Manresa have been privileged to accompany a great many people on their pilgrimage of life. Today, we are committed to finding new ways of bringing the riches of the Spiritual Exercises to our ever-changing world. It is our hope, as you browse through our website, that you will find something that will help you on your journey to God.
The 30-day Spiritual Exercises are typically offered annually. If you would like further information about the Exercises, or would like to explore this form of retreat further, please contact us.