Pope Pius XI in his encyclical letter Mens Nostra (The Promotion of the Spiritual Exercises) named St. Ignatius the heavenly Patron of all Spiritual Exercises
and proclaimed “the excellence of spiritual doctrine altogether free from the perils and errors of false mysticism” and he praised “the admirable facility of adapting the exercises to any order or state of man, whether they devote themselves to contemplation in the cloisters, or lead an active life in the affairs of the world.”
Accordingly, the Institute of the Incarnate Word not only organizes the exercises for the laity all over the world, but also for the members of the Institute who make an annual week-long Ignatian retreat. This year the seminarians of the Fulton Sheen House of Formation took the Spiritual Exercises from February 27th to March 4th.
Fr. Pablo Muñoz, Pastor at St. James Parish in Mt. Rainer, Maryland, preached the exercises. Each day he gave five conferences following the meditations proposed by St. Ignatius. After each talk, there was an hour of personal meditation for those taking the exercises.
In particular, this year meditations were associated with passages from Scripture. In addition, interesting and relevant quotations were included from John Paul II, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas Aquinas, and many other saints.
For instance, one of the key Ignatian themes is that we must be indifferent with regard to all created things. This will enable us to use them only inasmuch as they are conducive for the salvation of our souls. Fr. Muñoz linked this indifference to one of the senses intended by Jesus when he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:23-24). “If we want to grow in the spiritual life,” says Fr. Pablo “we must be ready to die to ourselves…Then and only then will we bear fruit.”
There were approximately forty seminarians and priests who spent the week in silence, prayer, and meditation. We thank God for the gift of the Spiritual Exercises and we pray through the intercession of St. Ignatius that this part of our spiritual formation will bear fruit in future apostolates.
To see a full schedule of spiritual exercises offered by the IVE throughout the year please click here.
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