St Ignatius Spritual Exercises

I’ve been self administering the 30 day Spiritual Exs and will be completed soon.
So far I havent decided to join a monastary or thrown my TV’s and stereos out the balcony.:thumbsup:

To those similarly experienced, I am looking for a natural or recommended follow on to this.
So far I can figure to do 1 or 2 meditations per day from the same book.

But is a specific title from Theresa of Avila, St John Cross, John of Avila , or some such author have a series of meditations or such that it would be a natural follow on to continue my growth?

I’d follow up with St Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life. Don’t let the “Introduction” fool you into thinking that this book is only for beginners.

Also note that St Francis de Sales had a Jesuit spiritual advisor and went through the Spiritual Exercises himself. There is an Ignatian influence in Salesian spirituality.

If you’d like to continue along the lines of St Teresa of Avila or St John of the Cross, I’d recommend first reading Fr Dubay’s Fire Within.

This book is the fruit of Fr. Dubay’s many years of study and experience in spiritual direction and in it he synthesizes the teachings on prayer of the two great doctors of the Church on prayer–St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila–and the teaching of Sacred Scripture.

But the teaching that Fr. Dubay synthesized is not collected from Teresa and John for contemplatives alone. It is meant for every Christian and is based on the Gospel imperative of personal prayer and the call to holiness. All the major elements of these great teachers are ordered, commented on and put in the context of their scriptural foundations. Here is an outstanding book on prayer and the spiritual life written by one of the best spiritual directors and retreat masters of our time, and based on the writings of the Church’s two greatest mystical doctors.

How does someone become an “expert” spiritual director?

What is the difference between spiritual direction from St. Ignatius, St. Francis de Sales, and the Carmelites? Didn’t St. Ignatius receive the directions directly from Mary? Thanks. :slight_smile:

By having a vocation for it and by being trained by other expert spiritual directors. :wink:

Each tradition has its own spirituality. You can get a very simple overview at wiki.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_spirituality

Yes! But he also drew from his own life experiences.

Haha. Real answer please, how does one distinguish between the quality of various spiritual directors? Or show a vocation?

Through prayer, by the recommendation of others who you consider to be holy and are trustworthy, and by the example of how the spiritual director lives in his own life.

You mean if you think the spiritual director is a holy person. :confused:

I had done ‘Intro to the Devout Life’ some 9 months ago.
Will complete ‘Ignatius 30 days plan’ in about 10 more days or so.

I have Dubays book, will give that a look.
Any other suggestions? Anything in the directed meditation/contemplative realm?

I also have Hildrebrands ‘Transformation in Christ’ that I am slowly going through presently. Same for ‘Cost of Discipleship’ by Bonheoffer. But these are strictly reading books. Thats why I am doing them in tandem with Ignatian Exs.

Imitation of Christ by Kempis which I plan on meditating through after my Spiritual Exs are done and over --as a reinforcement.

Just a couple of thoughts…
I am very Ignatian in my spirituality, have done the exercises, and am not sure if I understand you correctly here. Are you doing the exercises without a spiritual director?
It is strongly suggested & advisable to have one, who is familar with Ignatian spirituality, to guide you through the exercises. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure you could truly experience the exercises without one.

I don’t think you ever become an “expert”.
Some people have a natural talent for spiritual direction, and some can learn the necessary skills. In my experience, the best directors have the following traits:
-they are deeply spriritual
-the have excellent communication skills
-they are empathetic
-they don’t really “direct”

That last one needs some explaining.
A spiritual director is more of a guide. My first director used a mirror anology. His job, he said, was to reflect back to me what we talked about and help me to find God working in everything.

There are a few training programs that I know of for spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition. The one I am most familar with is the one at Fairfield University. Here is a link to the application for the program, it will give you an idea of what is required.

Look at the link and notice the names, the prominent priests and catholic thinkers who recommend the book : greats -Schall and Hardon :
ignatius.com/Products/DIHR-P/do-it-at-home-retreat.aspx

The above book is not the one I am using however. However, I do own it and have read it.
I have 6-7 books on the topic to educate me on Ignatian Spirituality.
What is to be hopefully avoided through the use of a spiritual director is extremes and this was what I addressed when I originally stated:

So far I havent decided to join a monastary or thrown my TV’s and stereos out the balcony.

I am writing all of this for your edification. ?
I am really reticent of posting specific advanced questions on this forum because they are always overrun by the herd and go off topic. This time isn’t too bad as this topic scares most.

I had done ‘Intro to the Devout Life’ some 9 months ago.
Will complete ‘Ignatius 30 days plan’ in about 10 more days or so.

I have Dubays book, will give that a look.
Any other suggestions? Anything in the directed meditation/contemplative realm?

I also have Hildrebrands ‘Transformation in Christ’ that I am slowly going through presently. Same for ‘Cost of Discipleship’ by Bonheoffer. But these are strictly reading books. Thats why I am doing them in tandem with Ignatian Exs.

Imitation of Christ by Kempis which I plan on meditating through after my Spiritual Exs are done and over --as a reinforcement.

If the spiritual director isn’t holy, you don’t want him as a spiritual director.

Two ideas.

One approach is to read Song of Songs and look for commentary. Though it’s such a short book, you will find no shortage of commentary on it. I think Fr Arminjon’s The Cantata of Love: A Verse by Verse Reading of The Song of Songs is a good one to start with (and it’s by a Jesuit), and it’ll lead you to other commentaries. For an encyclopedic approach, The Anchor Bible’s Song of Song by Marvin H. Pope is a nice addition to anyone’s bookshelf. You can find used hardcovers (which I have) at a more approachable price.

The other approach is to stop looking for the next thing to read or do. Go back to what you’ve done and do it again. We reread Scripture for a reason, and we reread the spiritual masters for a reason. Once isn’t enough for us to plumb their depths.

I would agree that the exercises are not meant to be done alone. Even Jesuits have to go through the retreat with a director.

What do you mean by avoiding extremes. A director does not dictate to you. As was stated he or she is a like a mirror reflecting back what you believe you are hearing from God. They help you discern the voice of God. i had a director who was very different from me both in some aspects of theology and in prayer styles, but she was a good director because she never forced her opinions upon me and respected where I was coming from. If a director is always telling you what to do then you need a new director. A good director helps you decide.

There is always the next book!

Through Google Books I have St Bernard of Clairvaux Commentary on Song of Songs.
PDF file printed to hardcopy via laser printer. 2 pages per side, printed both sides, binder clipped.

I have been amassing a Catholic library now at some 150-200 books(mostly through Amazon) plus what I can find in Google Books for some 5-10 years. …Most of these unread, some read 2-3 times over with notes and summaries. There is always the next book!

Thanks for your considerable advice.

:smiley: I know! I have to admit it that I’m the same way, but I do at times try to curb the urge to get another book.

I haven’t read his entire commentary, but the bits I’ve read are deep. Also note that St Francis de Sales’ Treatise on Love of God is heavily influenced by the Song. Origen is commonly quoted and referred to.

You’ll also want to read different translations of the Song, for it is very nuanced. It also contains the highest number of hapax legomena (words that only appear once and no where else) in the entire Bible, some of which are a still unknown to translators.

You’re welcome!

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