Jesuit approach to prayer
Prayer transcends time. So too, ways of praying are spiritual jewels handed down to us through the centuries. Such is the gift of Ignatius of Loyola, the 16th-century founder of the Jesuit order. An influential figure in the Counter Reformation, which transformed the Roman Church from within, Ignatius’ insistence on extensive study and formation stood out against the rather meager standards for priestly education at the time.
Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises evidence a similar level of depth and structure. Rather than writing prayers intended for reflection or memorization, Ignatius’ Exercises are instead a method of prayer and personal growth. The Exercises form the basis of transformative retreats given to laypersons and Jesuit novitiates around the world. (The Exercises are nearly always given in the context of a guided retreat and are not intended to be read like a novel!) Here in Cincinnati, we are blessed to have the Jesuit Spiritual Center so near. Located in Milford, the Center offers retreats of various duration year-round.
The Daily Examen was developed by St. Ignatius as a way to continue the benefits of the Spiritual Exercises on a daily basis. This accessible, simple method of prayer demands little time, but pays a huge spiritual dividend.
The Daily Examen
1. Become aware of God's presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature from the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
Read more about each step of The Daily Examen
Suscipe (from the 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.
The Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me
Body of Christ, save me
Blood of Christ, inebriate me
Water from the side of Christ, wash me
Passion of Christ, strengthen me
Good Jesus, hear me
Within the wounds, shelter me
from turning away, keep me
From the evil one, protect me
At the hour of my death, call me
Into your presence lead me
to praise you with all your saints
Forever and ever. Amen
Prayer for Generosity
Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.
The First Principle and Foundation (from the Spiritual Exercises)
The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.
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 deeper response to our life in God.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God's deepening his life in me.