Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sophie's Journal - 18
On coming out of retreat, Mother Barat gave the novices a summary of the subjects on which she had been meditating. She had followed the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. Her notes give insight into her spirituality. She wrote: "I am made for God and to possess Him eternally." She pondered the "Principle and Foundation: and said that "these deep truths are capable of renewing our fervor in order to do anything the Holy Spirit asks for the reform of our life and the perfection to which we are called."
In the "Second Week"-(Ignatius divided his Exercises into four "weeks" but this does not mean a week of seven days but is a division that can be lengthened or shortened according to the graces received during the time period)- of the Spiritual Exercises Mother Barat told the novices that she had meditated on the life of Our Lord and the virtues of which he has given us an example, especially his poverty, humility, and obedience. She declared "when we are on fire with love for Him who has so loved us all becomes easy." She saw the Paschal Mystery as a whole and did not make any distinction in her notes between the "Third" and "Fourth" weeks of the Spiritual Exercises. She pointed out that the Lord's resurrection and triumphant entry into heaven should be a motive to sustain us in our troubles for "if we imitate him we will have the same happiness. Let us look at our Crucifix in all our difficulties; it is this which gives us courage."
I have been reading a new book by David Fleming, S.J. on Ignatian Spirituality as we are adding it for the International Online Certificate Program in Spirituality Studies for the first Unit next September. Anyone reading it will have a grasp of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and, hopefully, a desire to make them. Creighton University has an online retreat of 32 weeks for anyone interested. I have made this myself, but find they offer too much material so I counsel using only what really helps you and leave the rest.