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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ignatian Retreat and the Spiritual Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are famous for changing lives. Many saints made them during their lifetimes. In fact, all the Jesuits make them as part of their formation for the priesthood. Think of these great Jesuit heroes of the past and the part the Spiritual Exercises played in their sanctification:
the North American martyrs who suffered incredible torture and abuse at the hands of the Iroquois Indians; the many English martyrs like St. Edmund Campion, St. Thomas Garnet, St. Robert Southwell, and St. Philip Evans who died brutal deaths by being hanged, drawn, and quartered, or beheaded. You can read about these Jesuit saints here and consider the impact the Spiritual Exercises had in forming their characters to the extent they were willing to follow Jesus to the cross -- literally. 
Yes, the Spiritual Exercises are saint-makers. Please Lord, help me this week to cooperate with all the graces of the retreat that I might be willing to follow in the footsteps of your saints, especially the martyrs who were willing to give up all, even life, for love of You.

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