This week, we began to move into what is called the “Second Week” of the Spiritual Exercises. Here, to pray over the Life of Christ, using both scenes from the gospels and supplementary prayers by St. Ignatius. One of the steps that Ignatius provides for us as we prepare to contemplate is what is called a “composition of place,” where we pay close attention to where the scene we are praying over takes place: sights, sounds, smells, how things feel, etc. It could be the fields outside of Jerusalem or the park outside your office. This is an important step and should not be overlooked. We are always in a place (both figuratively and literally), and Jesus always speaks to us at that place. As the reflections proceed, the question of what Jesus is saying to us and calling us to will become more focused. While doing a repetition this weekend, you might wish to pay close attention to the place (or places) you find yourself when praying, and the variety of places from which Jesus calls you. Wherever you are, God is calling you. What is God asking you to do at the place you are at?
At the start of the Second Week, St. Ignatius recommends that we take up some spiritual reading—usually a biography of a saint. While this is by no means required, reading a saint’s biography can help to “incarnate” what God is asking of us; as we see a concrete example of a real person, how God called that particular person, and how exactly that person responded to God’s call, we can get a better idea of how God is actually calling us in our own lives, and how we should best respond.