Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 25, 2007
Practice spiritual exercises
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
The notion of stewardship has great similarities with the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, says Archbishop Terrance Prendergast, archbishop-elect of Ottawa.
A Jesuit himself, Prendergast told a plenary session June 16 during the Western Canadian Catholic Stewardship Conference, that Ignitian spirituality and stewardship have much in common.
Prendergast described the booklet of spiritual exercises as a "playbook" of reflection and discernment.
"It isn't something you read cover to cover. Ignatius (founder of the Jesuits) said there are exercises, like walking and swimming, that give us physical exercise, but also spiritual exercises that have discipleship and a way of life based on God's commands and instructions.
"We need spiritual exercise to know where we are on our path," he said.
"The best way of doing spiritual exercises is to get a good spiritual director who says to take a particular exercise and pray about it and then come back and tell what happened."
Much of Ignatian spirituality is based on the realization of gifts from God through creation, redemption and the particular gifts from what God has done for the person. At the heart of stewardship is gratitude for these gifts and the willingness to share God's love with others.
Thirty day schedule
The spiritual exercises normally take about 30 days, which are divided into four weeks, each with a particular theme. Prendergast said a week isn't always seven days. The first week might be completed in four days. The second week might require 11 days.
In the first week, the person gets to know himself as a sinner loved by God who is forgiven by Christ on the cross. The second week is devoted to knowing the Second Person of the Trinity, who became incarnate to labour with the Lord in mission.
Striving to feel compassion with Christ who was crucified for our sins occupies the third week, while the fourth is an effort to allow the risen Christ to share the joy and renewal of his resurrection as friends console each other.
By the end of the exercises, a person knows he is in community with God and the angels and saints.