During the course of Lent, the Spiritual Exercises Blog will dedicate weekends to repetitions. Ignatius often recommends that retreatants return to those points where they experienced greater consolation or desolation or greater spiritual understanding in order to dwell on them and obtain some further fruit. Therefore, weekends will be times to look back upon the week and ask “Where did I feel the greatest movements within my soul?” Go back to those moments and pray a bit longer upon them. Or perhaps there was a day when you weren’t able to dedicate much time to a meditation. Now is your chance for some make up time.
Repetitions help us understand the purpose of the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius says that “it is not much knowledge that fills and satisfies the soul, but the intimate understanding and relish of the truth.” You will probably notice that the subject matter presented during the Exercises is not new, secret knowledge that you have never heard before. Ignatius did not discover a fourth person in the Trinity or the secret history of Mary Magdalene. He presents us with the simple yet profound truths of the Faith and gives us a vehicle by which we can appropriate them in our lives more deeply. Therefore, we might be tempted to say, “Oh, I’ve already heard that before, so I’ll move on.” Of course we’ve already heard of topics like sin or the Incarnation. We may remember the thrill of first encountering some of the truths of the faith. The first encounter, however, is just the doorway to a new world waiting to be explored. The new world is the infinite goodness of God. Let us allow these weekend repetitions to lead us further along that journey.
“When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, Because I bore your name, O LORD, God of hosts.” Jer 15:16