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Journey with Jesus - Groups

Journeying with a Group
Group Covenant
Group Sharing
Getting Started: Preparation for Guides – Listeners – Spiritual Directors
Wisdom for Guides - Listeners - Spiritual Directors from St Ignatius
Alternate Time Frames for the Journey with Jesus (long term and daily)
First Meeting
Prayer of Examen TIPS
End of Section One: God Loves You - The Discernment Process
The Preparatory Exercises: Principle and Foundation
Principle and Foundation (something for the day)
End of Section Two: Principle and Foundation - The Discernment Process
Week 1: Personal Prep for Spiritual Guide/Director
Week 1: Ongoing Journey
Week 1 Discernment: Moving from Week 1 to Week 2
Week 2: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide
Week 2: Walking with Jesus (beginning)
Week 2: Ongoing Journey
Week 2: Moving to Week 3 Discernment Process
Week 3: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide
Week 3: Journey to the Cross (beginning)
Week 3: Ongoing Journey
Week 4: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide
Week 4: Resurrection of Jesus (beginning)
Week 4: Ongoing Journey
Contemplation of Divine Love
FQA

Journeying with a Group

This page is designed to provide information for those leading a group through Journey with Jesus.


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Group Covenant

A group covenant provides a means of setting up the ground rules that will govern a group. It will help to create boundaries that promote ongoing growth and health within the group and with individuals in the group. Once you have crafted your covenant, I would suggest you take time to process through it as a group so that everyone is on the same page as you begin your journey together.


As an individual in this group, I will practice:


Loving Acceptance
– I will embrace each other’s sameness and differences with equal enthusiasm affirming that each individual is a one-of-a kind masterpiece of God.


Attentive Companioning
– I will affirm and care for one another through active listening.


Honest Sharing
– I will honor my own boundaries in terms of how deeply I share and I will honor the boundaries of others.


Personal Authenticity
– I will share/speak in the first person, claiming my thoughts and experiences as my own, and avoiding generalizations like, “the problem with the church is…,” "everyone needs to be doing…,” "God just wants all of us to…,” etc.


Commitment to Growth
– I will endeavor to spend the time in the materials I have committed to while also realizing, for myself and others, that life is crazy.


Commitment to Faithfulness
– I will endeavor to attend all group meetings and come prepared and ready to share openly and honestly.


Steadfast Trust
– I will entrust myself, other group members, and this group to God, acknowledging that it is God who will bring growth and transformation to my life and the lives of others in this group.


Gracious Patience
– I will be gracious and patient with others and myself as we enter into the messiness of journeying and growing together as a group.


Sensitive Interaction
– I will not offer unsolicited correctives, directives, or “helpful” advice after someone shares, but rather receive their words as a gift to our group and to God.


Liberal Grace
– I will seek to believe the best about each person and what they share and say while acknowledging that we are all 'works in progress.'


Healthy Relationships
– I will respect each member of the group and deal sensitively with conflict if necessary.


Absolute Confidentiality
– I will not speak directly or indirectly with anyone outside our group about anything someone has shared within our group.


Sign and Date:

____________________________________________________________________

This exemplar was adapted from a Community Covenant used by CFDM San Diego.


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Group Sharing

Group Dynamic
It is important to establish at the very beginning that although the group is on the same journey, it will be a unique experience for each group member. The purpose of this journey is not getting to a particular destination, but opening oneself up to God through the Exercises. Some may feel the need to remain in the section focusing on God’s love. Others may sense the need to go back through a previous section. (If this happens, I encourage them to not feel the need to go through all the material in the previous section but to return to those portions they felt resistance, an invitation, a challenge, or felt nothing.)

Group Sharing
Debriefing questions: General questions found on page 282 or questions in each exercise can be used for group debriefing. And of course, you can always come up with your own questions keeping in mind what a good question is (see pages 283 - 285). Also, familiarize yourself with helping a retreatant unpack an experience with God (p. 283).

Group sharing can be very meaningful. Saying out loud something you’ve experienced can make it more real to you. Hearing someone else’s experience can help you touch a new truth for yourself. Another caution: these out loud words can sometimes take us from our hearts back into our heads quite abruptly.

In group sharing, it is important to encourage and welcome the sharing of all kinds of experiences – even if nothing seemed to happen. Remember to stress that imaginative prayer is a way to offer ourselves to God. It doesn’t make God show up. Remind the members of your group that even if it feels like absolutely nothing happened, God is still working in ways beyond what we can understand or feel.

PLEASE READ THIS! A caution about Group Sharing:

Be gentle. Create a safe place.

How?
• Give absolute freedom to share or not share – stress the value and benefits of both.
• Set up rules which do not allow for cross-talking. No one is free to comment on what has been shared.
After someone has shared, hold them and their words silently up to God in silent prayer for a few moments.

Here is one way this could be communicated:

“We are going to give anyone who would like to, a chance to share. If you would like to briefly share, please do. It can encourage the rest of us. It can sometimes help us to put words to our own experience. Also, naming your experience can help reinforce it, give it strength. It’s less likely to float away and be forgotten in your mind if you’ve said it out loud.”

“There’s one important rule I need us all to follow. When someone shares, there is no cross-talking. That means that no one comments on what another person shares. We listen and give the person sharing our full attention. When someone speaks after an experience like this, they are sharing a deep part of themselves. It’s not our place to comment in any way, during or afterwards. Receive their words like you would a fragile gift. Hold them gently. After someone has finished speaking, we will sit in silence praying for them and holding them and their words up to God.”


It is important to create a group atmosphere that allows people to show and share their experiences freely and honestly and without fear of attack, judgment or even correction. This is your responsibility.

To help ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding sharing and the ethos of the group, I suggest making use of a 'Group Covenant.' See example in Group Covenant section.


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Getting Started: Preparation for Guides – Listeners – Spiritual Directors

Hello, and welcome to the web companion for the book Journey with Jesus. The purpose of this site is to provide help for those who are journeying with others through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Before progressing too far, it must be stated that this website does not intend to replace the need for the book, Journey with Jesus. Rather, it presupposes that those navigating their way through this site have a copy of the book already. This site will contain information not found in the book. However, it will also expand on and point you to other important information contained within the book.


Preparation for Guides – Listeners – Spiritual Directors


Early on in your journey with another, it will be extremely helpful for you as the guide and for those you are guiding to become familiar with the following sections of the Exercises. This will provide you with an initial acquaintance with some very important pieces of the Exercises--pieces that will help those you are guiding to have a deeper and more profound journey with Jesus. These sections will provide you with tools to better help those you are guiding as they begin to struggle and experience difficulties on their journey. I recommend you reading through the following sections of Journey with Jesus at least twice initially and re-reading these each time before you meet those you are guiding through the Exercises.



Read through and become familiar with

· daily elements of the Exercises (p. 23 - 40)

· tips on how to approach the Exercises (p. 44 - 56)

· rules of discernment for Week 1 (p. 109 - 115)

· rules of discernment for Week 2 (p. 150 - 154) – you can wait on this section until they proceed through the Preparatory Exercises.

· for spiritual directors and listeners (p. 280 - 287)

· glossary of terms (p. 300 - 302)


Additionally, if working with a group read ‘Using the Exercises with a Group’ (p. 288)


This web companion for Journey with Jesus will provide general guidelines for those leading others through the Exercises
that are found in the original introductory remarks of St. Ignatius known as the annotations. St. Ignatius penned these annotations for the expressed purpose of equipping those who would be guiding people through the Exercises. We will then provide both specific and general information that will relate to the various sections that make up the Exercises (Preparatory Exercises, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4).

The information in these sections will include things to watch for in those you are guiding, helpful reminders for you as a guide, additional reminders to pass on to those you are guiding (including struggles that may emerge at certain stages of the journey), and more. These insights are a result of my experience of having guided others through the Exercises over the past 5 plus years. During this time, there have been certain patterns that have emerged in terms of struggles, temptations and the like. Although the information that follows will not pertain to every individual going through the Exercises, it is helpful for you, as the guide, to be aware of these distinct possibilities. This material will be listed out individually below so that you will be able to quickly and easily find the information that relates to the section through which you are guiding the individual or group.


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Wisdom for Guides - Listeners - Spiritual Directors from St Ignatius

Insights for Guides gleaned from the Annotations [1-20] (The following is briefly covered on page 281 in Journey with Jesus but expanded upon here.)

Annotations: These are the opening instructions that Ignatius provided for those who will be guiding someone through the Exercises. They include tidbits of wisdom to keep in mind as you journey with another through Journey with Jesus. It may be helpful to re-read these insights before you meet with the individual you are journeying with – at least for the first few times.

1. Less is more. Do not overwhelm your person (group) with information. Keep it short and sweet. It is not about how much they know but about helping them to become aware of and relish things interiorly that are important. [2]

2. It is important for those going through the Exercises to have an openness, generosity and courage in terms of their relationship to God. These qualities are fostered in the Preparatory Exercises that begin the Journey with Jesus. [5]

3. The person going through the Exercises will experience times of consolations and desolations during their prayer times, possibly even the during the same prayer period. If there are no such movements, this needs to be explored by the guide by asking about their time spent in prayer, where they pray, and how they are praying. If the person is experiencing times of consolations and desolation on various days during their prayer times it is important to name this as a good and normal time. [6]

4. When the one going through the Exercises is struggling with temptation (the temptation to quit or otherwise) and/or is in desolation, your role is to be gentle and gracious seeking to encourage, support and strengthen, while also exposing the wiles of human nature and the evil one. [7]

5. Take time to make yourself familiar with the rules of discernment (Week 1, p. 112-115 and Week 2, p. 150-154) found in Journey with Jesus. This is important so you can give instruction when needed regarding consolations and desolation explaining only what is needed at the time. The complete rules for Week 1 (p. 112-115) should be presented before the person enters into the Exercises associated with Week 1. This can be done in bite size pieces. [8-9]

6. When the one receiving the Exercises begins to be tempted and assaulted under the appearance of good, then it is time to instruct them about the Rules of Discernment for Week 2 (p. 150-154). This may be needed early on but definitely needs to be covered some time during Week 2. [10]

7. Make sure the person is putting in the prayer time, as well as the two Examen times. Encourage them to not put in more or less time than they have committed to doing. This is important even if the prayer time seems dry and unproductive, or the person is experiencing tremendous consolations. Remember to be gracious. [12-13]

8. Be a voice of caution and reason when you feel the one receiving the Exercises makes a hasty promise or vow. This can easily take place during times of consolations or as a reaction against desolation. [14]

9. Do not unduly influence one receiving the Exercises when, in their enthusiasm, they are opening up to God’s dream (will) for their life. Be a good listener, helping them to hear the still small voice of God. [15]

10. Be aware of any disordered attachments that may be a part of the life of the one receiving the Exercises. Help them to recognize this disordered attachment with gentleness and care, encouraging them to act contrary to those attachments and to seek to do that which is for the service, honor and glory of God. [16]


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Alternate Time Frames for the Journey with Jesus (long term and daily)

9 Months or Not?

The journey in the Spiritual Exercises set out in this book is a 9 month journey which may not be ideal for each person or group. Because of this, I have included a few alternate time frames in the appendix of the book which one can use instead of the 9 month time frame. These time frames are 7 Weeks, 17 Weeks and a 3rd alternative which will help you to go through all the Weeks of the Exercises in smaller increments. So, if your retreatant or group is feeling that the 9 month journey is a bit much, check out the alternative suggestions found on pages 274-279.

7 Days a Week or Not?


Journey with Jesus is set up to be an everyday event. The retreatant is encouraged to enter into this journey seven days a week. When the journey is done in this way, there is great transformational power that can naturally flow as a result of the day in and day out.

BUT

This is not the only way to journey through this material. One of the hallmarks of Ignatian Spirituality is flexibility. Because of this, there is freedom to adapt this material to meet the life situation of your retreatant. Some people have adopted an every-other-day rhythm which, though not ideal (we don't live in an ideal world), is still transformative. It is important to work with your retreatant to determine how many days a week they will be committed to entering into the Exercises. Another strategy is also good to start small (3-4 days a week) and gradually build up to 7 days a week. The point here is that the Exercises invite us to adapt them to our own current life situation. Make use of this freedom.

Not Doing the Exercises Everyday
(below is a 14 week journey based on a 3 times a week rhythm)

If you and your retreatant decide on an alternate way of journeying through the Exercises that is not the 7 days a week rhythm, here are some additional instructions for you.

Even though you are not doing the daily prayer time every day, I would strongly encourage these two practices everyday:

1. The two prayers of examen (noon and evening). This prayer practice helps you to stay connected to God and yourself and to be aware of what the challenges and invitations from God that may be coming your way.
2. Begin each day by presenting yourself to God. This can be as simple as saying, "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

These two practices will help unleash in part the transformational power that is innately a part of the 7 days a week pattern of journeying through the Exercises.

14 weeks: spending 3 times a week in the Exercises with an additional review day. The Examen is done twice a day, every day.

God's Love

Section # 1 Days 1, 2, 6 (pages 63-67)

Section # 2 Days 3, 5, 6 (pages 68-71)

Principle and Foundation

Section # 1 Days 1, 2, 3 (pages 82-84)

Section # 2 Days 1, 2, 3 (pages 86-88)

Section # 4 Days 2, 5, 6 (pages 90-93)

Section # 5 Days 1, 3, 6 (pages 94-98)

Week 1

Section # 3 Days 1, 2, 3 (pages 128-131)

Section # 5 Days 2, 3, 4 (pages 134-137)

Week 2

Section # 4 Days 1, 3, 5 (pages 165-169)

Section # 6 Days 3, 5, 6 (pages 174-178)

Section # 8 Days 2, 3, 6 (pages 182-185)

Section # 9 Days 1, 2, 6 (pages 186-189)

Section # 10 Days 3, 5, 6 (pages 190-193)

Section # 11 Days 3, 5, 6 (pages 193-197)


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First Meeting

Before your first meeting, you need to have read through:

  • Getting Started: Preparation for Guides – Listeners – Spiritual Directors
  • Wisdom for Guides - Listeners - Spiritual Directors from St. Ignatius
  • Dialogue Boxes

Additionally, if you are leading a group, please read:

  • Group Sharing
  • Group Covenant

The first meeting is a time to get to know one another and become familiar with the daily rhythm of the Exercises. When you have completed your first meeting (about one hour long) you will have:

• Discerned together if you are a good match for each other.
• Explored if the person actually has time (50 – 75 minutes) each day. If so, then determine the length and type of the journey they are considering (see p. 274) and decide to move forward agreeing on how often will you meet and for how long (I suggest at last twice a month for about one hour).
• Set the date of your next meeting: Schedule the next meeting within two weeks so you can see how it is going and review some of the material they have read through (p. 23-62).
• Spent some time going over pages 23 – 26 in Journey with Jesus. These pages cover the daily rhythm of the Exercises--it is important for the retreatant to have a sense of the flow and pattern of each day.

• Encouraged your retreatant to implement the various elements of the Exercises emphasizing that this will feel artificial at first, but that this is normal. Eventually, the retreatant will develop their own natural flow through these steps.
• Cautioned them against seeking to do each step perfectly – stress to them that that is not important, but to begin where they are.
• Encouraged them to make the examen part of their routine twice a day--but also that once a day is better than no times a day.
• Stressed the importance of baby steps: one day in the exercises is better than no days, one examen is better than no examen.
• Reinforce to them that this is all new. They can give themselves the freedom to start slow and build, celebrating little success along the way!

Now, ask your retreatant to do the following before your next meeting:
• Read pages 23 – 62
• Start and begin making their way through section 1 of the Preparatory Exercises: God Loves You (p. 63).

Finally:

  • Summarize the importance of the Preparatory Exercises (p.57-60) for their present and continuing journey through the Exercises.
  • Explain the concept of Consolation and Desolation to the retreatant (p. 59).
  • Review with them the role of the ‘optional exercises’ (p. 52) stressing the freedom they have not to do them.


I normally pray at the beginning and end of a session. I also combine some silence at the beginning of our time together so that we each have the opportunity to still some of the internal noise we carry.


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Prayer of Examen TIPS

The five steps involved in the Prayer of Examen are found on page 30 of the book.


There are some retreatants who get stuck on step 2 which reads: Ask God to reveal your sins to you.

These retreatants often feel that this step is asking them to come up with a laundry list of sins but this is NOT the case. The key is to ask God to reveal your sins to you. The retreatant is asking God to show them if there is something to which they need to pay special attention. This step involves coming before God and asking God if there is any hurtful way in them (Ps 139:23-24). Often times God will choose not to reveal anything to the retreatant during this step.


Other retreatants struggle to remember all the steps. I encourage these individuals to continue to work on incorporating all five steps. But if they are not able to remember all five on a given day, I encourage them to do these two steps:

1. Take time to thank God for what you have received this day (abbreviated step 1)

2. Use your examine questions to help you reflect your day. (Step 3)


These two steps are critical. And though the others are important too, doing these two steps is much better than doing nothing at all. In fact, it will help to create an internal spiritual sensitivity to the movements and invitations of God, while fostering a greater awareness of God’s love, grace and presence.


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End of Section One: God Loves You - The Discernment Process

End of Section One of the Preparatory Exercises: The Discernment Process

Before you meet with your retreatants, read pages 76 -77.

Staying or Moving On
Make sure you work with your retreatant (group*) through the discernment process provided at the end of this section. Remember to stress that the exercises are not about completion, but rather tools for opening oneself up to God. It is very important, before a person moves on, to have internally embraced God’s love and own their identity as the beloved of God.

Before discerning with you if it is time to move on or stay in a particular section, each individual needs to have worked through the material on their own. If the retreatant decides to remain in a particular section, they do not need to go back through all the entire section--though they can if they want. Give them the freedom to revisit those exercises to which they may have felt resistance or where unable to enter into. If the person goes back through a section whether in part or in its entirety, they will need to revisit the discernment section again before moving on. I have had individuals spend 3 months going through this section of the Preparatory Exercises as they sought to internalized God’s love – it was a life-changing experience for them. Remind yourself and your retreatant the goal is NOT to get through this material but to use it as a means to open themselves up to God.

If the retreatant decides to move on, have them read pages 78-82 before they begin this section.

*group: it is important to allow each person in the group to move or not move to the next section as they sense God’s leading. To this end, it is important for you as the leader to create an atmosphere where each person feels the freedom to discern apart from pressure to conform to unspoken or spoken expectations of the group or themselves. The tendency is for a group to move or stay as a group; but that is not important. In fact, I have done this both ways and found that it is very powerful for people to be at different junctures within a group. Doing this affirms the individuality of each person and their journey and creates a sense of freedom and grace within the group. This can lead to a deeper level of sharing and openness to God and one another.

This process will become a little more involved as you make your way through the Exercises.


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The Preparatory Exercises: Principle and Foundation

As your retreatants moves into this new section called the 'Principle and Foundation,' some things will change while others remain the same. The daily rhythm does not change. There is prayer time with all its components (slow down, reflection time using lectio divina, journaling…) and the noon time and evening examen. What changes is the focus of each of the weeks. As the group journeys through this section they will have a total of five different focuses (creation, praise, reverence, service and indifference). Make sure you read pages 79-82 before you meet with your retreatant.

Also during the first week, the retreatant will be asked to make use of their senses (section1), take a walk (section 2) and be invited to use bubbles (section 2) as a prayer practice. This section is 5 weeks and concludes with a very critical focus in section 5 on indifference. This is an important concept for your retreatant to know and understand before moving on to Week 1 of the exercises. Another difference in this section is that the examen questions will change each week depending on the focus.

Remember to look through the dialogue boxes (see website or in book) that pertain to the preparatory sections.


During
this meeting and the subsequent meetings in this section of the Preparatory Exercises, your goals are as follows:

  • Help the retreatant to explore and unpack their experience in the Exercises. If appropriate, use the suggested questions (p. 282-285) to help your retreatant to explore his/her experience.
  • Spend some time exploring their experiences of using their senses which they do during the first week of this section.
  • Spend time with the retreatant exploring with them their understanding of indifference before they move on to Week 1. This is an important ingredient in the Spiritual Exercises and will be built upon indirectly throughout the Exercises.
  • Discuss with them the use of the slow down, examen and experience during prayer times (what is difficult, what is easy and what has been happening in terms of feelings, self and God). Remind them that the examen questions change each time they begin a new section.
  • Offer suggestions, if needed, regarding slow down, incorporating the prayer of examen in one’s life twice a day, staying with a certain passage, repeating a number of the exercises, amount of time spent in prayer….
  • If you have not done so, begin sharing/reviewing the rules of discernment. Suggest that they use a review day to go through and explore the rules of discernment (pages 109 - 115) paying special attention to the contents of pages 112-115.
  • Celebrate successes big and small – this is vitally important!
  • Continue to be sensitive to any tendency of the retreatant towards self-condemnation, perfectionism, discouragement and unrealistic expectations. For information for helping the retreatant deal with these go to the link entitled: Discouragement, Unrealistic Expectations, Perfectionism and Shame.

The above will be the format for all the times you get together with your group during the second section of the preparatory exercises. Always make sure you read the appropriate sections before you meet with your retreatants.


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Principle and Foundation (something for the day)

Encourage the retreatant to choose something from their morning time (a word, phrase, image, insight…) to take with them. This practice is known as the nosegay. This prayer practice dates back to the black plague era when individuals would carry flowers in their pockets so that when the stench of death would overwhelm them they could pull out their flowers and revive their senses. Likewise the retreatant carries something with them from their time in the daily exercise so when the stench of the world overwhelms them they can take out their chosen spiritual bouquet and breathe in the wondrous fragrance of God's truth.

This practice will continue through the first three weeks of their time in the Principle and Foundation and will be picked up again during Week 2.


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End of Section Two: Principle and Foundation - The Discernment Process

Before you meet with your group for the discernment phase of this section, please prayerfully read pages 98-100 with your retreatants in mind.

Staying or Moving On
Make sure you work through the discernment process with your retreatant (group*) provided at the end of this section. Encourage them to take their time considering where they see themselves on the continuums (p.99) and the questions that proceed and follow those continuums. It is very important that the person has been prepared and readied for this new section.
Remember to stress that the exercises are not about completion, but rather tools for opening oneself up to God. It is very important, before a person moves on, to have internally embraced God’s love and own their identity as the beloved of God.

Before discerning with you if it is time to move on or stay in a particular section, each individual needs to have worked through the material on their own. If the retreatant decides to remain in a particular section, they do not need to go back through all the entire section--though they can if they want. Give them the freedom to revisit those exercises to which they may have felt resistance or where unable to enter into. If the person goes back through a section whether in part or in its entirety, they will need to revisit the discernment section again before moving on. I have had individuals spend a couple additional weeks going through the section on indifference before moving on. This extra time is time well spent because the concept of indifference is a foundational piece of the Spiritual Exercises. Remind yourself and your retreatant the goal is NOT to get through this material but to use it as a means to open themselves up to God.

If the retreatant decides to move on have them read pages 103-117 before they begin the new section. It would be helpful for you to have read this section before you meet with the retreatant regarding their discernment of whether they will stay or move on. If they move on, you can give them some pointers and cautions regarding this new section before they begin (see below).

If your retreatant is choosing to move on, it is vitally important for you to explain to the retreatant that the title of this section is 'Sin, Me and God’s Love' and the focus is on both sin and God’s love. It is very possible to get into a downward spiral in this section (just like what happened to Ignatius) and this is NOT the goal. But if this happens, instruct them to stop going through the daily exercises in this section until you both meet again. During the time leading up to your meeting, have the retreatant revisit some exercises in the 'God loves you' section. I have seen this happen on a number of occasions. However, it usually lessens when time is spent meditating on God’s love.

The grace that the retreatant is asking for in Week 1 is the ability to experience sorrow, tears and confusion over their choices to sin in light of God’s limitless love, grace, mercy and forgiveness. This dual focus can be difficult to maintain. Remind the retreatant that whatever they may feel is a gift from God it is not earned or acquired by trying harder. Additionally, let them know that the gift of tears is very rare and most never experience it--and that is okay.


Finally, reemphasize to the retreatant that this can be an emotionally difficult section because of what they may feel or sometimes because of what they do not feel. Encourage them to be very self-aware. If they feel themselves slipping toward despair and/or hopelessness, they are to STOP doing these exercises until they can meet with you and go back to some of the exercises in the God loves you section and spend their prayer time there.


*group: it is important to allow each person in the group to move or not move to the next section as they sense God’s leading. To this end, it is important for you as the leader to create an atmosphere where each person feels the freedom to discern apart from pressure to conform to unspoken or spoken expectations of the group or themselves. The tendency is for a group to move or stay as a group; but that is not important. In fact, I have done this both ways and found that it is very powerful for people to be at different junctures within a group. Doing this affirms the individuality of each person and their journey and creates a sense of freedom and grace within the group. This can lead to a deeper level of sharing and openness to God and one another.


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Week 1: Personal Prep for Spiritual Guide/Director

It is important for you, as the spiritual director/companion, to prepare yourself for entry into Week 1. This can be a difficult section of the Exercises for your retreatants because of the focus--sin--and the additional variety of components to the daily experience.

Please take the time to:

  • Read pages 103 – 117, spending additional time familiarizing yourself with the rules of discernment.
  • Read through the exercises for Week 1 paying attention to the dialogue boxes.
  • Get acquainted with the Jesus prayer: a powerful tool that can be used throughout the rest of the Exercises (p. 116-117). Make a note of the additional exercises at the end of this section (p. 140-142 ). These exercises can be used to help those who are being overwhelmed with the reality of their own sin and who are struggling to own God's love for them. (Also, if they are having difficulties embracing God’s love, it may be helpful to have them go back to the preparatory exercises for a while which focus on God’s love.)
  • Have the retreatant(s) read pages 103 – 117 before you meet together in preparation for Week 1.

Again, this section of the Exercises can be perilous and unsettling at times. Seek to get a sense of the internal state of your retreatants as they make their way through Week 1. If they are struggling, do not rush in to rescue them; but do not let them drown in a sea of despair either. You will need wisdom and insight. If you sense they are spiraling downward, have them step out of this week and enter into the Exercises at the end of this section (p. 140-142) or go back to the first preparatory section (p. 63ff) dealing with God’s love until your next meeting.


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Week 1: Ongoing Journey

Ongoing Journey Through Week 1

  • As the spiritual director or guide, continue to be aware of the inner state of the retreatant, especially in terms of their ability to hold the twin realities of their own sin and God’s love and forgiveness. Explore with your retreatant which side of this equation (their sin/God’s forgiveness) they tend towards and why.
  • Explore with them what their experience during the daily exercises is like in terms of desolation and consolation. If they are going through an extended time of desolation, review with them Rules of Discernment (# 5-9, p. 113-114.) Spend time helping the retreatant discover what the causes of their desolation might be and coming up with a plan of action.
  • Discuss with the retreatant any areas of resistance they may be encountering and explore what may be birthing these feelings.
  • Explore how the Prayer of Examen is going for them.
  • Be sure to continue to celebrate with your retreatant small and larger areas of growth.
  • If you become aware of the retreatant's struggle with maintaining the balance between their sin and God’s forgiveness and they are becoming overwhelmed by their own sin, instruct them to take a break from the Week 1 exercises and spend some time working through the exercises at the end of this section (p.140-142). Or, they can always re-visit some of the preparatory exercises focusing on God’s love (p. 63). If you sense the struggle is not that intense, have the retreatant use some of the exercises focusing on God’s love from the preparatory section on one or both of their review days until you meet again. Be discerning in this. The goal is NOT to rescue them from difficulty but to guard their soul from harm.

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Week 1 Discernment: Moving from Week 1 to Week 2

As your retreatant(s) make their way to the end of Week 1, it is time for you to help them work through the discernment potion of this section (p. 137-140). The vast majority of those who enter these Exercises do continue into Week 2. This discernment time gives you the opportunity to name and celebrate areas of growth your retreatant has experienced over the last few weeks. This time affords you the opportunity to evaluate where your retreatant is along the continuums and also how they see themselves. This is always helpful.


If the person reaches the end of Week 1 doubting God’s love, you can suggest they go through the exercises starting on page 140 and then re-visit this discernment section. If they are deeply struggling, I would encourage them to work through the initial preparatory exercises (p.63-75). They do not need to do all 3 weeks of these exercises but can pick and choose. When they are finished, they need to re-visit the discernment section at the end of Week 1 (p.137-139)


If you both get to the place where it feels like it is time to move on, encourage your retreatant(s) to read pages 143 - 154 and through Mark 1-10 before entering the exercises for Week 2. Briefly go over the new addition of bowing (p. 147), the three cautions (p. 149 – 150) and the use of imaginative prayer (p. 36- 40). Imaginative prayer will be the prayer means used for interacting with the text during the 15 weeks that comprise Week 2.


In the website section entitled ‘Beginning Week 2’ we will explore further what you are to do for that first full meeting with your retreatant(s).


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Week 2: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide

It is important for you, as the spiritual director/companion, to prepare yourself for entry into Week 2. This is the section of the Exercises that begins the retreatant’s journey with Jesus through the gospels. This can be a time of high expectations on the part of the retreatant – expectations which can open the door to desolation and disillusionment. Be alert as your guide your retreatant during the 15 sections that comprise Week 2. It is during Week 2 that many retreatants begin to get sidetracked during their daily exercises. The temptations of the evil spirit (the flesh, the world, the devil) become more subtle and are oftentimes disguised as a good. It is very important for you to be familiar with the Rules of Discernment that pertain to Week 2 (see below).


Please take the time to:

  • Read pages 143 – 154, spending additional time familiarizing yourself with the Rules of Discernment for Week 2 (p. 151-154).
  • Read through the exercises for Week 2 (p.155-207) paying attention to the dialogue boxes.
  • Make a note of the new additions: bowing, two graces (not just one), use of colloquies, two prayers in addition to the Lord’s Prayer (that will be prayed slowly).
  • Be aware of the three cautions (p.149) and check to see if your retreatant is experiencing them as they journey through Week 2. If you determine that they are, talk it through with them.
  • Have the retreatant(s) read pages 143 – 154 and Mark 1-10 before you meet together in preparation for Week 2.
  • Make sure you are aware of the steps involved in Imaginative Prayer (p. 36-40)
  • Make a note of the various graces and the new examen questions. The graces and examen questions will change for the first five sections of Week 2 and then be the same starting at section six through the rest of the sections.

This is the longest of the Weeks and can be a time of struggling, desolation, wonderful consolations and even confusion as the retreatant’s image of Jesus may be challenged. Week 2 can be a time of deep internal transformation and choosing a deeper level of commitment to Jesus. Be very prayerful for your retreatant during their journey through the fifteen sections of Week 2. It can be a very pivotal time and for a number of the retreatants, it will mark the end of their journey through the Exercises (at least for now).

Two things to be on watch for:

There are many who begin to struggle with feelings of desolation during Week 2 and doubting the value in continuing this journey. This is much like a marathoner who ‘hits the wall’ around mile 19 of their race. If this happens to your retreatant, remember rule # 5 (p.113) that says not to change your decision when in desolation and also make use of rules 6-9 (p.113-114). Endeavor to hang in there; growth is happening within.


Another common occurrence during Week 2 is that during the slow down time, things will arise that the person feels need to be pondered, reasoning that they will never have this much time during the day to do so. This is a temptation along the lines outlined in Rule # 4 (p.152). The result is that this takes the retreatant away from the very exercises which they believe God has guided them to take. It is important to name this and urge the retreatant to be faithful to the exercises, for this is when a deeper work is taking place. Beware of the devil appearing as an angel of light.


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Week 2: Walking with Jesus (beginning)

As you meet with your retreatant prior to entering Week 2:

  • Cover the importance of bowing slowly.
  • Review with them the two new prayers to pray through slowly, allowing God to stop them along the way (p. 147-148).
  • Go over the 3 cautions (p. 149).
  • Walk them through the steps of Imaginative Prayer (p. 38-39) and ascertain if they are comfortable praying this way or if they have any questions.
  • Mention to them that Ignatius has designed a few non-biblical meditations for Week 2. These are important to enter into and deal with honestly. Resist the temptation to give the “right answer” and be honest with God where you are in the moment. The first section will begin with one of these meditations.
  • Examine the Rules of Discernment for Week 2. I would suggest working through these new rules in the first few times you meet with your retreatant for this section.
  • Reconsider Rules 3 – 5 (p. 152-153) stressing that consolation is no longer a guarantee, that God is involved in this internal movement. The enemy (Satan, world, the flesh) can bring about this circumstance. As one matures in Christ, the temptations often move from things overtly evil to things that may be good but not the best. Satan begins to appear as an angel of light willing to use good ends to cause one to stumble.
  • Remind them to take time to review briefly their prayer times and to make good use of their review days, revisiting the previous days.
  • Remind them that the graces and examen questions will be changing in the first five sections so they need to make a note each time they begin a new section.

REMINDERS to share with retreatants:


This begins your journey with Jesus. In Week 2 you will walk with Jesus from his birth up to the Passion Week (Week 3). This is a time in which you will be invited to explore your level of commitment to Jesus.

When you come across exercises that invite you to do this, please endeavor to be honest with God and yourself. The purpose of these times is not to give the right answer, or the answer you wish were true, but to give the answers which are true regarding your current level of commitment to Jesus.


The additions for this section can feel a bit overwhelming. Assist the retreatant by reminding them of the additions through Week 2 so that they have the freedom to not memorize them themselves.


Even though there are new Rules of Discernment for Week 2 and following, that does not mean that the Rules of Discernment for Week 1 are rendered null and void. They are still in affect and can be very helpful when used in conjunction with the new rules of discernment for Week 2.


When you are going through the daily exercises, you will be invited to be one specific individual in the story. Please feel free to go through the gospel narrative more than once in a session, choosing a different person each time. What changes in terms of your experience and feelings toward Jesus? Also, do not be afraid to step into the sandals of Jesus from time to time. When we see ourselves as Jesus it can be very enlightening regarding who we are and who Jesus is.


Remind your retreatant not to try and force something to happen. Enter this section, as you are able to do so, trusting God and trusting the process. Be aware of your inner movements during your time in the daily exercises, especially feelings of consolation and desolation.

Remind them that they are to choose a thought, words, phrase or insight to carry with them throughout the day as they did during the Principle and Foundation.


Please make sure you read Mark 1-10 in one sitting before starting Week 2.


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Week 2: Ongoing Journey

Continuing through Week 2


As you meet with the retreatants (not all of these need to be covered each time):

  • Explore with them their experiences in the extra biblical meditations (p. 155, 157, 170, 171, 208).
  • Continue to monitor their use of the prayer of examen. Is the examen beginning to spontaneously happen throughout their day?
  • Explore with then their experience of bowing.
  • Discuss how they are doing regarding the use of their imagination
  • Review the rules of discernment (once you have covered the Rules of Discernment for Week 2, review them and the Rules of Discernment from Week 1 as needed).
  • Encourage them to experiment with various postures in prayer (p. 108, 125).
  • Unpack their experiences with/of Jesus.
  • Inquire about their prayer times: How is it going? What is going well? With what are you struggling?
  • Inquire: What do you currently sense are the invitations and challenges of God for you?
  • Encourage them to experiment with different ways of journaling – colors, drawing, collaging… (p. 32-34).
  • Explore their internal movements of desolation and consolation.
  • Encourage them to use their imaginations to go through a passage more than once, being a different person each time, even being Jesus.
  • Discuss with them their time in the daily exercises. Are they getting sidetracked? – this often happens during Week 2.
  • Find out if they sense a growing internalization of the grace of knowing Jesus intimately, loving Jesus more intensely, and following Jesus more closely.

Looking ahead:

When they enter into section 13 and 14 of Week 2 (p. 200 – 204) they will be instructed to mediate on the “I am” statements of Jesus. Since they have been using their imagination in their prayer times for the last 12 plus weeks, it may be difficult to sit with a single verse. Encourage them to continue to employ their imagination as an aid to unpacking the various spiritual truths contained in each of these images.


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Week 2: Moving to Week 3 Discernment Process

As your group reaches this point, they will have completed 196 daily exercises. It has been a long journey up to this point; and the end of Week 2 may very well mean the end of their journey in the exercises. As I have stated along the way, this journey is not about finishing all the exercises but about using the exercises as a means of opening up and presenting oneself to God. Many get to this point and feel that God is inviting them to call their journey to an end - at least for now. There are some who come back the next year and pick up Week 3 during the next Lenten season and then move through Week 3 and 4 in harmony with the season of the Church. In fact, there is a section in the back of the book that enables the retreatant to begin that journey on Ash Wednesday and then continue through the entirety of the Lenten season and Holy Week. This can be a very powerful way to experience Week 3.


All that to say, do what you can to give the retreatant freedom to continue or not to continue through the Exercises. The next two Weeks (Week 3 and Week 4) are very different in terms of what they ask of the retreatant. The retreatant is no longer asked to follow Jesus but to enter into the experience of Jesus. This asks the retreatant for a deeper level of commitment than any of the previous Weeks. It is important that you help the retreatant take the time needed to discern the invitation of God at this point of their journey. This could take a few days to a week or more. This is not a decision that needs to be rushed, but rather one that needs to be given the time and space required to ascertain where God is leading them.


Make sure you really work through pages 208-211 with your retreatant.


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Week 3: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide

The goal of Week 3 is not for the retreatant to be overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and shame because their actions (sins) led to Christ’s death, but to choose to join with Jesus in his suffering for the sins of the world--a grace that Paul deeply desired and wrote about in Philippians 3:10: “I want to know . . . the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings.”

This Week is about walking with Jesus in a deeper, more personal and intense way than in Week 2. It is entering into Jesus’ journey as a companion in all he encounters.


Read pages 212-220. Please familiarize yourself with the following:


The three questions reflection questions for the retreatant during each daily exercise:

 

  • What did Jesus suffer in his humanity in this narrative?
  • How did Jesus hide (not use) his divinity in this narrative?
  • What is your response to Jesus’ sacrifice for you in terms of how you might view life, live life and interact with others?

Be aware of :

 

  • the difficulties your retreatant may have with focusing on the crucifixion of Christ (p. 215)
  • the use of the sign of the cross (p. 216)
  • the use of the crucifix encouraging the retreatant to give it a try but emphasizing it is their choice. (p. 217)
  • rules for eating (be prepared to discuss the role of fasting) (p. 218)
  • stations of the cross (p. 219)
  • the grace: to sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, with tears and interior suffering because of the suffering that Christ endured for you.
  • the Examen questions: Today did you recall to your mind Jesus’ willingness to suffer physical, emotional and spiritual trauma for you? Why, or why not? How did the truth of Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for you and others impact how you interacted with others today? How did you die to self today?

 

Read through the exercises for Week 3 (p. 221-240). Make note of the poem on pages 232 and 238.


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Week 3: Journey to the Cross (beginning)

As you meet with your retreatants prior to entering into Week 3:

  • Speak with them about why Week 3 can be difficult (p. 212-216) and how it can seem similar to Week 1 but is completely different.
  • Go over the three questions upon which they will be reflecting during each daily exercise.
    • What did Jesus suffer in his humanity in this narrative?
    • How did Jesus hide (not use) his divinity in this narrative?
    • What is your response to Jesus’ sacrifice for you in terms of how you might view life, live life and interact with others?
  • Review the sign of the cross (p. 216) encouraging them to incorporate it with the bow from Week 2 and to make the sign of the cross slowly. This is yet another way to involve the body in prayer.
  • Talk over the use of the crucifix exploring any resistance to using the crucifix during their prayer time. However, encourage the retreatant to give it a try while emphasizing it is their choice. (p. 217)
  • Read through the rules for eating with them. Pay special attention to role and different ways of fasting. Highlight the warning regarding fasting. (p. 218)
  • Briefly cover the Stations of the Cross (p. 219) pointing them to the website as a means of entering into the stations.
  • Encourage the retreatant to create a space that recalls to mind the focus of this week.
  • Help them to understand the grace of Week 3 (to sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, with tears and interior suffering because of the suffering that Christ endured for you.)
  • Briefly touch on the Examen questions: Today did you recall to your mind Jesus’ willingness to suffer physical, emotional and spiritual trauma for you? Why, or why not? How did the truth of Jesus’ willingness to suffer and die for you and others impact how you interacted with others with whom you came in contact today? How did you die to self today?
  • Remind them of the rules of discernment of Week 1 and the role desolation can play. This can be a time of desolation.
  • Remind them to take time to review their prayer times and to make good use of their review days to re-visit previous days.
  • Remind them that this can be a tough Week but it is also a very transformative portion of the Exercises (214-215).

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Week 3: Ongoing Journey

As you journey through Week 3 with your retreatant:

  • Continue to be aware of the inner state of the retreatant.
  • Explore with them what their experience is like during the daily exercises in terms of desolation and consolation. If they are going through an extended time of desolation review with them Rules of Discernment (# 5-9, p. 113-114) spending time helping the retreatant discover what the causes of their desolation might be and coming up with a plan of action.
  • Caution them about being aware of consolations and how the Evil Spirit can appear as an Angel of light and lead the retreatant away from God. Rules of Discernment (#2-8, p. 152-153).
  • Discuss with the retreatant any areas of resistance they may be encountering and explore what may be birthing these feelings.
  • Explore how the Prayer of Examen is going for them. What are they noticing about how their living their lives, interacting with others, viewing others as they focus on the cross of Christ?
  • Explore their experience of eating contemplatively and fasting.
  • What have been their feelings regarding making the sign of the cross? Have they chosen to incorporate it? If not, why? If yes, what has been the impact on them and their prayer time?
  • What have been their feelings around making use of the crucifix? Have they chosen to incorporate it? If not, why? If yes, what has been the impact on them and their prayer time?
  • Have they chosen to use the Stations of the Cross? If so, what was their experience of that journey? Where there any stations to which they seemed more and/or were resistant toward? Which ones and why?
  • What are you learning about yourself and Jesus as you journey through Week 3?
  • Be sure to continue to celebrate with your retreatant small and larger areas of growth.

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Week 4: Personal Prep for Spiritual Director/Guide

The goal of Week 4 is to embrace the joy and consolation that flows from the reality of the resurrection of Christ. Week 4 moves from the weeping and torment of Week 3 into a time of intense joy as we come face to face with the risen Jesus.


Read pages 241-244. Please
familiarize yourself with the following:


Each morning the retreatant is encouraged to begin their day by reciting
Ephesians 5:14: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


Additionally, they are encouraged to conclude their prayer time with the following words:
“Jesus is risen. Jesus is risen, indeed. Alleluia. Amen.”


There are three questions the retreatant will be using for sections 1-3. These questions are to be used after they finish exploring the daily passage using imaginative prayer.

· How does Jesus now manifest his divine attributes, his true self, following his resurrection?

· How does Jesus console those he encounters?

· What do you experience as you encounter the resurrected Christ?

The final week of this section is called Contemplation of Divine Love and is included in Week 4 but is entirely different (see page 255).

Be aware that many find it difficult to enter into the joy of this section. I have seen it time and time again. It may be an indication that the person is not fully ready to into this section and their time in the Exercises is at an end.


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Week 4: Resurrection of Jesus (beginning)

As you meet with the retreatants prior to their entry into Week 4:

  • Celebrate with them their journey up to and subsequent arrival into Week 4.
  • Go over the three questions the retreatant will be using for sections 1-3 of Week 4. These questions are to be used after they finish exploring the daily passage using imaginative prayer. How does Jesus now manifest his divine attributes, his true self, following his resurrection? How does Jesus console those he encounters? What do you experience as you encounter the resurrected Christ? (p. 243)
  • Review with them the use of Ephesians 5:14: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you” (to be said each morning as they get out of bed) and “Jesus is risen. Jesus is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen” (to be said as they conclude their opening prayer time.) (p. 243)
  • Encourage the retreatant to create a space that recalls to mind the focus of this week, namely, joy and gladness. (p. 243)
  • Help them to understand the grace of Week 4: the ability to rejoice and be intensely glad because of the great glory and joy of Jesus, your risen Lord.
  • Briefly touch on the Examen questions: How did the joy and power of Jesus’ resurrection impact how you viewed your life, yourself and your circumstances today? How did it impact how you dealt with others today? How did the truth of Jesus’ resurrection bring consolation and the ability to experience the reality of Jesus in the happenings of your life today?
  • Remind them to take time to review briefly their prayer times and to make good use of their review days to re-visit the previous days.
  • Encourage them to continually ask God that everything in their day may more and more lead them to divine praise and service.
  • Remind them of the value and importance of journaling and of continuing to experiment with various ways of journaling.
  • Encourage them to continue to use the act of bowing and making the sign of the cross during the opening times of this Week.
  • Let them know that the fourth week of Week 4 has a different focus and ties back to the Principle and Foundation of the Preparatory Exercises.
  • Share with them that some will struggle with entering into the joy and gladness of this Week. Point out that this can lead to discouragement and self-doubting because of the failure of their effort to make this happen. But remind them that this is a grace and that like all the graces that have preceded this one, is a gift given by God.

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Week 4: Ongoing Journey

As you meet with your retreatant:

  • Continue to be aware of their inner state.
  • Discuss with the retreatant any areas of resistance they may be encountering and explore what may be birthing these feelings.
  • Explore how the Prayer of Examen is going for them. What are they noticing about how they are living their lives and interacting with others as they focus on the resurrection of Christ?
  • Discuss their recitation of Ephesians 5:14 when they wake and the pronouncement of "Jesus is risen. Jesus is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen." How is this impacting their morning and day?
  • Explore their use of journaling.
  • Invite them to share about their image and experience of Jesus.
  • Talk over with them their ability to enter into the grace prayed for: the ability to rejoice and be intensely glad because of the great glory and joy of Jesus, your risen Lord.
  • Explore if they have created an ambiance for their prayer time that communicates happiness and spiritual joy. If they have, ask them how this has been helpful.
  • What are you learning about yourself and Jesus as you journey through Week 4?
  • Be sure to continue to celebrate with your retreatant small and large areas of growth.

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Contemplation of Divine Love

This section is only a few days in length but holds the Exercises together by seeking to harvest the seeds that were planted long ago in the Preparatory Exercises and gently nurtured in the subsequent weeks. The focus of this section is on God’s love. Its goal is to elicit a heart of gratitude that in turns leads to loving service of God. This is not a section to rush through or enter into lightly. This section is worth investing additional time.


The grace sought is an intimate knowledge of all the goods that God lovingly shares with you so that, filled with gratitude, you may be empowered to respond just as totally in your love and service to God.


The Examen questions are as follows: How has your awareness of God’s unceasing giving to you and God’s continual laboring for you impacted how you viewed your life, your self and your circumstances today? How did it impact how you dealt with others today? How did it enable you to more fully enter into and manifest the fullness

of God in your life?


There are two prayers in this section that are worth sitting with for more than one day. One is taken from the Spiritual Exercises and the other is from John Wesley’s writings. Both of these prayers are an expression of the indifference communicated in the Principle and Foundation.

Take, Lord, and receive
all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will—all is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace. That is enough for me. -Ignatius of Loyola


I am no longer my own, but thine. Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal. -John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer


The retreatant will be instructed to spend time expressing thanksgiving and gratitude individually to God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit for rooting you and establishing you in love. Thank them also for all that they have done, are doing and will do on your behalf, which communicates their investment, sacrifice and demonstration of love to you.

Additionally, the retreatant will be asked to consider what they have to give to the Divine Majesty (God).


Take time to debrief the retreatant’s experience of this section of Week 4 separately from the first 3 weeks of Week 4. This is a very important section that is designed to help the retreatant to become an active contemplative rather than embracing an individual and privatized faith.


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FQA

Question:
Just got your book in the mail! Read the intro. This could be a journey changer. And I am excited! Can someone who has not been through the Exercises be my director? I suspect it should be someone who has been through the Exercises, right?


Ideally, it would be good to have someone who has gone through the Exercises as your guide BUT this is a bit unrealistic. So, because of that, there is a portion of this website that has a dedicated section for those taking others through the book. Under the Journey With Jesus tab, you will find sections entitled:

  • Getting Started: Preparation for Guides, Listeners and Spiritual Directors
  • Wisdom for Guides, Listeners, Spiritual Directors
  • First Meetings and much more.

The website also has materials for those leading groups. The materials on the website are organized in harmony with the sections in the book and provide the leader with the information they need as they guide the retreatant(s) through the sections in the book. The material on the website is drawn from my own experience as a guide of others through the Exercises. There is also material in the last section of the book that will help those leading others through this material.

So, yes, a person who has not gone through the Exercises can lead another through them if they are willing to put the time and effort needed to read and understand the material in the book and on the website. It will not be easy BUT it will be worth the extra effort both for the leader and the retreatant.


Question:

What is the purpose of the Website?

The website is primarily designed to help those who are guiding individuals through Journey with Jesus. It helps the guide to be prepared and equipped as they journey with the retreatant through each section. However, the material here would also be helpful for those going through the Exercises as a retreatant.



Question:
What if I am not currently able to do the entire 9 month journey?


If you are not able to enter into the full expression of the Exercises as presented in Journey with Jesus, I would encourage you to wait until you have more space in your life. This is not something you need to do right now. There is much value in waiting until you can more fully enter into the material as presented. However, if you feel God is inviting you to begin this journey, there are a few different options outlined in the book (p.274) and on this website (see Alternate Time Frames for Journey with Jesus). When St. Ignatius penned the Exercises he allowed for great flexibility in the administration of the Exercises. He encouraged those giving the Exercises to take into account the uniqueness of each retreatant.


Question:
Can Journey with Jesus be used in small groups?

Yes! This is a wonderful tool for small groups. But if you are going through this as a group it is important to decide what rhythm you are embracing as a group in terms of days per week in the Exercises and the length of time spent engaging with the daily exercises. There is also a section in the book that speaks of a way of using this material with a small group and two sections on the website (Group Sharing and Group Covenant) that are geared for those leading groups. The sections dealing with small groups are currently being expanded.


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