You are beginning a Retreat in Daily Life inspired by and rooted in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. You are invited to pray every day during the next twelve weeks. You will know that you are making the Retreat generously if you give yourself to faithful, daily prayer. Keep in mind that we can never be more generous than God is: give the Lord a little time, and be surprised at the abundance of love, and everything else, the Lord pours on you.
You will want to have a special place and a definite time to pray each day. Find a place where you can expect to be undisturbed. How much time? A half hour has proven a good start. Over the weeks, you will find your own measure. Daily prayer, as outlined in your Finding Christ book, is the bedrock of this retreat. We have found that praying along with others magnifies the results of the Retreat in Everyday Life. You might meet with a group every week, and we find that having a facilitator deepens the prayer experience and the sharing. Never fear about sharing. With the helps given in the materials, you will readily find what to talk about and how to do it.
All retreatants will benefit from looking at the Guide Notes on the Experience of the Retreat, starting on page 242.
We hope that this retreat provides an opportunity to discern God’s voice in each of our lives and to re-encounter the unconditional love that God offers to each one of us. We recall Jesus’ words that wherever “two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Let us remember one another in prayer every single day – asking that the Holy Spirit guide our prayer, enliven our spirits, and transform us. We ask you to begin this time of retreat with the following prayer by the Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini, from Hearts on Fire:
Lord Jesus Christ, present here,
we thank You for the glory of Your resurrection;
we thank You for having called us together here;
we thank You because You praise the Father perfectly in us.
We thank You because You, in us,
are perfect justice toward our brothers and sisters;
it is You in us who continually heal our injustice, our mistrust, our fear.
We thank You, Lord Jesus,
for Your great glory
and we offer You what we are about to undertake,
everything we think, do and experience during these coming days
in Your honor and because of You.
Grant that, weary and tired as we are,
we may begin this retreat
in the name of the Father and of the Son
and of the Holy Spirit.
This retreat is best experienced when done with a small group of friends, family, or community members. We suggest that groups coordinate to meet weekly or biweekly, for about an hour each session in-person, via Zoom, or another web platform of your choosing. For more information on best practices, see the guide below.
"You are starting a retreat in everyday life.
You heard the Spirit whisper in your ear and raise a yearning in your heart.
You experienced the indwelling of the One who knows you by name,
claims you as His, and desires you to come close."
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 1 Introduction
As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the first presentation, deepening our spiritual senses can lead us to the "school of the heart." As you journey into the second week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to find your rythym of prayer, exercising your spiritual senses to encounter Christ in the everyday.
"Everyone has an innate desire for God.
God put it there. The grace you ask this week
is to learn how to feel God's presence with you
all through the day."
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 2 Introduction
The Principle and Foundation of the Spiritual Exercises
"God who loves us creates us
and wants to share life with us forever.
Our love response takes shape in our praise
and honor and service of the God of our life.
All the things in this world are also created because of God's
love, and they become a context of gifts,
presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we show reverence for all the gifts of creation
and collaborate with God in using them so that, by being
good stewards, we develop as loving persons in our care for
God's world and its development.
But if we abuse any of these gifts of creation or, on the
contrary, take them as the center of our lives,
we break our relationship with God
and hinder our growth as loving persons.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in a balance
before all created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some responsibility.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth
or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a more loving response to our life forever with God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
to God's deepening life in me."
~Ignatius of Loyola
Contemporary translation by David L. Fleming, S.J.,
from Draw Me Into Your Friendship
We invite you to join us for the second of seven presentations on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
"As we are like God, then, we are lovers.
But we are free to grow fully into love, or not so fully -
and we are even free not to love anyone.
This is the ultimate aim of growing
'in wisdom, age, and grace' like Jesus of Nazareth:
to grow into mature loving."
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 3 Introduction
We hope that your third week in Manresa has been fruitful. As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the second presentation, "at the core of every human being... is a core identity that is unchanging. It is absolute. Every person is born to be loved. Every single person is worthy of friendship. Every single person is worthy of dignity and respect. You will always be a beloved son, a beloved daughter, of God. Everything else is secondary." As you journey into the fourth week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to spend time with God in prayer.
"Now go back and look again at your life,
going through each day,
doing what you must do.
God walks with you through each moment of this.
If you feel inadequate,
if you can barely sense the great destiny you have,
God is there to encourage you."
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 4 Introduction
A Reflection on the Suscipe,
A Prayer of St. Ignatius
"...the Suscipe is often sung, as a psalm of praise and gratitude. When it is sung by a group, everyone seems to belong to everyone else, a koinonia experience, the union of minds and hearts in melody. Recited in private, the Suscipe is solemn intimacy.
What one speaks to the Lord in the Suscipe would not likely be shared even with a close friend. Love is spoken in silence as much as in words. How can one beg for God's love after so many years and still sense that one is asking for the first time?
Has some level of mutuality been reached in this giving and receiving, in receiving, and giving? For a moment it would seem that love is not the final word: 'grace' is the last of the Suscipe's requests. But grace is the code for the Holy Spirit, and so is another of Ignatius's favorite words, consolation. For Ignatius the primary consolation is God's love, who is the Holy Spirit.
What wondrous wisdom it is that reveals to retreatants how the Suscipe changes hands, as it were! At times it is the Lord himself who prays the Suscipe in the experience of being loved, and in turn the Lord hears the Suscipe from our lips. In the end, of course, God remains Lover and we the beloved. 'Take, Lord, and receive, all is yours.' To know this is the supreme gift of consolation. The return of love is not so much in giving up anything as it is in sharing everything."
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding, and my entire will -
all that I have and call my own.
You have given it 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.
~J. Thomas Hamel, S.J.,
from Sharing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
(Prayer from St. Ignatius of Loyola)
We invite you to join us for the third of seven presentations on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
“We know that, even if we are broken, we are not unlovable.
Even before we began learning our language
and our culture’s bent ways,
we were ‘destined to be molded to the pattern of God’s Son’ (Rom. 8:29).
Even before we were in our mother’s womb,
we were called, and ‘those God called,
God justified, and those God has justified,
God has brought into glory’ (Rom. 8:30).”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 5 Introduction
We hope that your fifth week in Manresa has been fruitful. As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the third presentation, “Jesus has within his heart, a divine vision of possibility for [the apostles] and as he has for them, so he has for us, regardless of your age, regardless of your status, your health, your education - you and I have possibility in the eyes of God.” As you journey into the sixth week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to spend time with God in prayer.
“By now in the retreat, you may well have experienced
that we go through times of discouragement in prayer and perhaps even sadness.
Well, when we do, the first defense is to make sure we are
not violating our consciences in something.
The Holy Spirit’s first help to get us out of sin
is to let us feel the sadness of it.
So if you’re in a desolation, check your Examen.
But if it’s not that, watch whether you are thinking
that you should be ‘praying better.’
If that hits you, take a look in the mirror and see a person
who is being tempted to perfectionitis.
If it isn’t perfect, it isn’t anything?
Let God decide!”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 6 Prayer Talk
A Discerning Vision of Heart:
A Reflection on the Ignatian Examen
“When we first learned about the examen in religious life, it was a specific exercise of prayer for about a quarter of an hour. And at first it seemed quite stylized and almost artificial. This problem was not in the examen-prayer but in ourselves; we were beginners and had not yet worked out the integration in ourselves of a process of personal discernment to be expressed in daily examens. For the beginner, before [one] has achieved much of a personalized integration, an exercise or process can be very valuable and yet seem formal and stylized. This should not put us off.
...But the examen will fundamentally be misunderstood if the goal of this exercise is not grasped. The specific exercise of examen is ultimately aimed at developing a heart with a discerning vision to be active not only for one or two quarter-hour periods in a day but continually. This is a gift from the Lord - a most important one as Solomon realized (1 Kings 3:9-12). So we must constantly pray for this gift, but we must also be receptive to its development within our hearts. A daily practice of examen is essential to this development.”
~George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J.,
from Notes on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
We invite you to join us for the fourth of seven presentations on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
“For the Holy Spirit who formed Jesus of Nazareth
is now forming each of us.
And the Spirit uses the same pattern
He used to form Jesus of Nazareth
so as to form us 'in the likeness.'”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 7 Introduction
We hope that your seventh week in Manresa has been fruitful. As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the fourth presentation, “if you and I are not Christ-bearing in the world today, who will be? If we're going to wait around until someone better, someone more qualified, someone less problematic comes along, well, good luck with that. We're it. This is what life has brought for the sustenance, the thriving of faith - it's us, at this time. Mary and Joseph give us guidance in our Christ-bearing capacity...The Word, these Scriptures and the fruit that we draw from them - reassurance, receptivity, eagerness - bring us into the light of Christ and we discover that in this moment, we are Christ-bearing.” As you journey into the eighth week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to spend time with God in prayer.
“We really know quiet a lot about Jesus of Nazareth.
But be aware that 'to know' can mean
having lots of theoretical learning or bible memory.
That's not what we're talking about here.
The 'to know' here means to get into Jesus' mind and heart
and to grow a feeling for His beauty and truth.
When we're kids, we often want to be 'like' somebody.
Now we're adults, and the one we want to be like
is Jesus of Nazareth.
That's what the prayer this week is about.”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 8 Introduction
The Dynamism of Desire
In Making the Spiritual Exercises
“The Spiritual Exercises are, from the beginning to the end of their sequence, a resumption of the spiritual journey of Ignatius... Ignatius based his hope for lasting spiritual fruit on the presence in the retreatant of an initial desire, firmly determined, which is already the fruit of divine grace, a call or attraction from God, and which is already the fruit of divine grace, a call or attraction from God, and which involves both God and man by engaging them to start out on the road of an irreversible spiritual development.
...The Ignatian expression, 'what I desire' (id quod volo) occurs repeatedly in petitions throughout the Exercises. On condition that it is the spontaneous expression of a desire, of a movement of the soul, this id quod volo will assure the permanence of this initial and exceedingly important attitude throughout the whole duration of the Exercises.
The genuine dynamism of the Exercises is that of this desire which gives rise to prayerful search, and which divine grace comes to purify and to open, the desire to open up to all the lights revealed through God's salvific plan.
...This is the spirit, the tenor of thought which keeps a steady and respectful eye on all the realities involved - namely, the reality of God, his Word, and his Truth, and the reality of the personal and unique soul of the retreatant who is seeking God. This too is the spirit or attitude in which we wish to propose the following interpretation of the Exercises of St. Ignatius. We wish, beyond their letter, to find their spirit. ”
~Giles Cusson, S.J.,
from Biblical Theology and the Spiritual Exercises
We invite you to join us for the fifth of seven presentations on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
“We know that we are joined to Jesus Christ
and our experiences are already bringing -
by God's power and grace -
the Reign of Christ.”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 9 Prayer Talk
We hope that your ninth week in Manresa has been fruitful. As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the fifth presentation, “Worry is my giving into the temptation to have control over the mind of God. It's very different from concern. Concern is my genuine regard for the well-being of God's creation which includes myself and others all while recognizing my proper place in the order of creation... Worry is non-relational. Worry is circular. It's non-relational because it's me trying to hold it all. Concern is within me and it goes out into relationship. I express my concern to God. I share my concerns with Jesus. I allow my concerns to be present to Mary... Transform worry into concern by making those very possibilities into relationships.” As you journey into the tenth week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to spend time with God in prayer.
“For consolation is a gift, like sunshine and rain.
God means us to have it, just as God means us to
live in a free and prosperous society.
And as we have to exercise our freedom to keep it -
so we want to learn ways
of exercising our consolation to keep it,
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 10 Prayer Talk
on the Service to Others
“In the sixteenth century, many Catholics in Spain and Portugal believed that long hours of prayer, fasting, and solitude were necessary to grow in holiness. Some writers recommended as many as six or seven hours of prayer every day. These Catholics often believed that serving other people in spiritual and corporal works of mercy was risky, because it distracted them from their prayer, and it exposed them to the sinful temptations of the world around them.
At first, Ignatius seems to have shared this mentality. Shortly after his conversion, he spent eleven months in the town of Manresa, first living in a hospice among the sick, then in the homes of various new friends, such as the widow Inés Pascual (c.1468–1548) and her son Juan. He fasted and prayed for many hours daily. He rarely bathed, and he let his hair and fingernails grow unkempt, in order to fight his vanity.
At the same time, however, Ignatius noticed two things. First, the spiritual conversations he was having with townspeople were very effective for helping them grow in their own relationships with God. Second, some people were reluctant to talk to him, because he smelled bad and looked dangerous.
As a result, an unexpected question began to weigh on him. Which should take priority? Focusing on the fight with his own vanity? Or focusing on the spiritual care of others?
At some point during his stay in Manresa, Ignatius became convinced that the care of souls, as he liked to put it, should be the most important consideration in his life. Every decision that he made, great or small, should be based on that consideration. Years later, he told an early Jesuit named Diego Laínez (1512–65) that he believed that God would never fail to protect him, or to welcome him into heaven, provided that Ignatius kept his eyes fixed firmly on God and serving his people. After all, Ignatius reasoned, what human king, if he offered a great favor to a servant, and the servant refused it for the sake of being able to serve the king even more—what king in that situation would not feel obliged to protect the servant, and to grant him an even greater reward later? And if a human king does this for a servant whom he hardly knows, how much more will God reward those whom he loves infinitely, and who are entirely dedicated to his service?
Ignatius had a mystical experience in Manresa that seems to have confirmed and strengthened his decision to serve others. God illuminated his mind about how God is intimately present in every person and place, at every moment. Even more, God is
continually laboring, so to speak, to bring every human being closer to himself. This mystical illumination gave Ignatius increased optimism about the fruits to be gained by “working with God,” and by casting the net widely.
Years later, Ignatius made the expression for the greater glory of God the unofficial motto of the Society of Jesus. This meant that when Jesuits are presented with two or more good options that they can be doing for God, they should try to discern which option will attract the greater number of people to him. Ignatius also called this the more universal good.”
~Barton T. Geger, S.J.,
from A Pilgrim's Testament: The Memoirs of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
"The very best English translation of the Autobiography with a superb introduction, helpful footnotes and appendices, this new edition is bound to become the English-language standard."
- James Martin, S.J., author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything
We invite you to join us for the sixth of seven presentations on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
“When we Christians act out of
genuine love for one another,
the Reign of God is actually coming to be.
This Reign is not a human monarchy
or a holy democracy.
It is a communion.
And all of us make up the current administration.”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 11 Introduction
We hope that your eleventh week in Manresa has been fruitful. As Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J. mentioned in the sixth presentation, “When the Paschal path reveals itself, we have a freedom, an invitation, to walk the walk of Jesus.” As you journey into the twelfth and last week of the retreat, we hope that you may continue to spend time with God in prayer.
“Here's a daily Examen for mature Christians.
Set yourself to enact those spiritual gifts.
Each day of the week, take one to practice:
love on Sunday,
joy on Monday,
goodness and kindness on Thursday.
Or else practice one for a week and then move on to the next.”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 12 Prayer Talk
as Practice to Find God in All Things
“The whole point of the Examen is to heighten and deepen one's experience of this God one has found. Though presented by Ignatius as a form of personal prayer, the Examen is not a 'private' exercise in the sense of promoting an individualistic, 'me and Jesus' kind of piety. In the Ignatian view, attention to one's interiority is not an end in itself, but is for a more authentic self-giving in service. One mores ad intra in order to move more freely ad extra: everything, for Ignatius Loyola, is oriented toward apostolic action: towards a continuing purification of choices for greater service in a response of love to the divine initiative. It was in the changing circumstances of his age, and in the constant flow of active ministry, that Ignatius sought to find God - not in a monastic withdrawal from activity.
This prayer reflection sought precisely to create those sensitivities which enabled a person to be more genuinely, freely active in God's service, to 'find God in all things', and to be a 'contemplative even in action'.”
~Donald St. Louis
from The Way of Ignatius Loyola: Contemporary Approaches to the Spiritual Exercises
As we close our 12 Weeks in Manresa, we at the Institute want to express our gratitude for your generosity in prayer, time, and intention over the last 3 months. Many of you have shared some of your graces with us and it has been a blessing to get a glimpse of your conversations with God.
To close our time together, we warmly welcome you to join us for the final presentation on the Spiritual Exercises led by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., the Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies.
“One of the dismissals from Mass
sums up our life in Christ:
'Go in peace,
glorifying God by your life.”
~Finding Christ in the World, Week 12 Touchstones
In addition to the retreat materials, we have provided 3 presentations by Fr. Casey Beaumier, S.J., that were recorded live. In these videos, we are asked to contemplate 3 moments of conversion in the life of St. Ignatius of Loyola and how those moments relate to our lives today.
These videos may be used as additional material to pray with in preparation for the retreat or as supplemental material to be viewed throughout the retreat experience.