Ad maiorem Dei gloriam
(To the greater glory of God)
The week of 23-Apr through 2-May 2018 I spent at the Jesuit Spirituality Center at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau LA doing a directed Spiritual Retreat with the Jesuits of the Spirituality Center. As time goes on this page will be added to.
In 1521 a minor nobleman was wounded in a battle with the French by a cannonball in his leg and was laid up in a hospital run by a religious order. This nobleman’s name was Ignatius Loyola. At the age of thirty, he had illusions of grandeur and wanted romantic novels to read while in the hospital. As you might surmise, the hospital did not have romantic novels so he started reading the Bible and other religious texts on many of the saints. These texts changed his life and he decided to commit himself to the Lord. He spent some time in a monastery and lived in a cave for several months. This is where he started taking notes of his experiences and developed what became known as his Spiritual Exercises.
In 1539 he helped form the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits. The Jesuits are known today for their work in education throughout the world. In our area Springhill College for example.
Certainly one of the most significant contributions to spirituality made by St Ignatius are the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. These are a compilation of prayers, meditations, readings that Ignatius started developing while he was in the hospital. These exercises are available via several different methods, online, self-study, retreats, email, etc. At the Jesuit Spirituality Center one may participate in three, five or eight-day directed retreats. One may also participate, with a spiritual director, in the full thirty-day retreat of the Spiritual Exercises.
The retreat I attended was a silent directed retreat lasting eight days. You meet with a spiritual director each day for an hour to discuss your spiritual direction as well to discuss your reflections on suggested scripture and other religious readings. The remainder of the day is to be spent in silent contemplation and meditation of these readings.
A number of our readings were by Ron Rolheiser, OMI who is a prolific author and has a number of articles that appear nationwide in newspapers.
Another interesting Father I met was Rodney Kissinger, S.J. At 103 he is still blogging and has a marvelous website with a number of homilies, booklets, essays and other topics. He also has an email version of the 19th Annotation Retreat of the Spiritual Exercises on his website.
Since this initial retreat, I have attended two other retreats – one three days and the other five days.
to be continued…