The Spiritual Exercises
Updated: Jan 13
The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. For centuries the Exercises were most commonly given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence. In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The most common way of going through the Exercises now is a “retreat in daily life,” which involves a months long program of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people.
SUSCIPE (TAKE, LORD, RECEIVE)
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
PRAYER TO KNOW GOD’S WILL
May it please the supreme and divine Goodness
to give us all abundant grace
ever to know his most holy will
and perfectly to fulfill it.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
PRAYER OF A FIRST JESUIT
With great devotion and new depth of feeling,
I hope and beg, O God, that it finally be given to me
to be the servant and minister of Christ the consoler,
the minister of Christ the redeemer,
the minister of Christ the healer,
the liberator, the enricher, the strengthener.
To be able through you to help many-
to console, liberate and give them courage;
to bring them light not only for their spirit
but also for their bodies,
and bring as well other helps to the soul and body
of each and every one of my neighbors.
I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—St Peter Faber, S.J., from his Memoriale
WASH ME WITH YOUR PRECIOUS BLOOD
See, O merciful God, what return
I, your thankless servant, have made
for the innumerable favors
and the wonderful love you have shown me!
What wrongs I have done, what good left undone!
Wash away, I beg you, these faults and stains
with your precious blood, most kind Redeemer,
and make up for my poverty by applying your merits.
Give me the protection I need to amend my life.
I give and surrender myself wholly to you,
and offer you all I possess,
with the prayer that you bestow your grace on me,
so that I may be able to devote and employ
all the thinking power of my mind
and the strength of my body in your holy service,
who are God blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
—St. Peter Canisius, S.J.