The last day of July 31st is the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola. He has been a great influence in my life. After a conversion he founded the Companions of Jesus, now know as the Jesuits. He recorded his experience of being taught to pray by God in a small book called “The Spiritual Exercises”.
In 1991 I was able to take sabbatical and went to stay at the Campion Renewal Centre outside Boston run by Jesuits for an Ignatius Experience that lasted two months and this finished finished on his feast day. During that time I did a thirty-day retreat following the Spiritual exercises. I can’t believe that this was 30 years ago. It a defining time for me and changed the way I understood spiritual direction, prayer and Gods overwhelming love for me. I now try each year to have an individual guided retreat when possible, which can last between 6 and 8 days.
Here is a prayer of St Ignatius that we find towards the end of his Spiritual Exercises.
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.
Amy Welborn says of this prayer
“It’s called the Suscipe, Latin for “take”. If we’re wondering what to do with our lives, or even with the next fifteen minutes, the Suscipe is a wonderful prayer to fall back on. When it comes to decision making, context is everything, and this is a prayer that instantly puts our decision making into the right context, even when our own words fail us, when our own desires are pulling us in a million directions, and the sawdust is starting to look mighty appealing.”