Some Introductory Remarks
This outline1 suggests:
  • Themes based on theological truths implied and presumed during the process of the Sp Exs, here suggested for instruction and reflection;
  • Material for private prayer based on these same themes;
  • Themes for the variety of methodologies and approaches used in the course of the Sp Exs;
  • Scripture readings for reflecting upon these truths.
1. Spiritual Truths
God loves and cares for us. God is near me. 
True and false images of God.


Prayer texts:

Prayer is listening, stillness, letting go, attentiveness, free from false images of God and false images of prayer.

 Deep confidence and trust in God's nurturing care

Lk 11:1-13  Teach us to pray ... how much more will my heavenly Abba give the Holy Spirit.
Lk 12:22-31  Lilies of the field.
Eph 3:14-21  Paul's prayer ... may God give you the power through the Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong
Jn 14:15-29  I shall ask my Abba to give you another advocate, the Holy Spirit.
Ps 23; Ps 89:1-35; Ps 91; Is 25; Rom 8
2Th 2:13-3:5; 1Jn 4:7-5:4; Heb 4:12-16; Lk 8:4-15.

2. Spiritual Truths
God gives God's very self to us in a relationship of love.


Prayer texts:

Prayer methods - basically prayer using scripture; conversational prayer; pausing; preparation; posture.

Amazement that God relates to us personally.

Is 43:1-7
Hos 11:1-9
Jn 3:16-17
Rom 8:26-35
You are precious in my eyes
When Israel was a child I loved them
For God so loved the world
Spirit helps us in our weakness ... 
                      God will not refuse anything.
Deut 7:7-11; Deut 8:5-10; Deut 11:10-17; Deut 1:29-33;
Deut 32:10-11; Is 55; Is 54:5-10; Ps 145; Eph 1:3-14; Jam 1:17-18.

 3. Spiritual Truths
God creates us. Transcendence. Experience of Creaturehood.


Prayer texts:

Each prayer exercise; exterior and interior silence; additions; place; times of prayer; why we pray for a grace.

 Deep wonder and awe at one's personal existence.

Ps 8 Munificence of the creator. Who are we that you should think of us?
Ps 139:1-18 O God, you examine me and know me.
Job 1:21 Naked I came from my mother's womb.
Jb 38:1-40:5  Job must bow to the creator's wisdom. Where were you when I made the universe?
Gen 1:24-2:3; 1Sam 3:1-10; Dn 3:51-90; Is 45:9-13; Wis 11:21-27;
Wis 13:1-9; Jer 18:1-12; Ex 3:1-6; 1Cor 4:1-5.

4. Spiritual Truths
God desires to forgive. 
All history, individual and communal is salvific.


Prayer texts:

Review after prayer; use of repetition; relationship between review and repetition. Principle of remaining with a passage until one is satisfied.

 Deep awareness of God's eagerness to forgive

Ps 103 No less than the height of heaven is the greatness of God's love.
Lk 15:11-32 The prodigal son
Mt 23:33-37 How I have longed to gather your children as a hen gathers its chicks.
Jn 20:19-23 Jesus breathed on them, "Whose sins you shall forgive ... "
Ex 19:1-8; Ez 11:18-21; Lk 7:36-50; Jn 8:3-11; 1Jn 1:5-2:2.

 5. Spiritual Truths
Jesus desires to save me personally ... I am helpless to save myself


Prayer texts:

Examen of Consciousness - how to make it daily but stress the experience of it more than the format. This is a consciousness or awareness exercise to notice interior movements. It is not the same as the examen of conscience which is a practice to help discover where one has sinned or has cooperated with evil. The examen of consciousness is to each day what the review is to the hour of prayer. A word on what are spiritual movements.

To appreciate more deeply that only Jesus is my saviour.Deep confidence and trust in God's nurturing care

Rom 7:14-24 ... the things I want to do I cannot do.
1Tim 1:12-17 ... mercy however was shown me - Christ came into the world to save sinners.
Gal 2:19-21 Son of God sacrificed himself for my sake.
2Cor 5:17-21 It is all God's work, for our sake God made the sinless one into sin so that...
Jn 12:37-40; Jn 10:7-18; Lk 23:33-38; Rom 8:31-39
Eph 2:1-10; Gal 4:3-7; 1Jn 1:8-2:11

 6. Spiritual Truths
God calls us in freedom and radically.


Prayer texts:

Awareness that the goal of the Sp Exs is spiritual freedom. Examen and all the other prayer exercises enable us to make our interior being available to God's freeing action. A few ideas about the interview with the spiritual guide.

To appreciate deeply that Jesus' love sets us free; and to understand the freedom necessary in his service.

Gen 22:1-19 Abraham and Isaac.
Jn 3:22-30 He must grow greater, I must grow smaller.
Lk 9:57-62 I will follow you but first let me ... Let the dead bury the dead.
Mt 25:14-29 Parable of the talents.
Ps 42; Ps 63; Wis 9:1-12; Is 6:1-10; Jer 1:1-10; Mt 9:9-17
Mt 13:44-46; 2P 2:19; Heb 11:17-19.

 7. Spiritual Truths 
When God calls us it is with the power of the risen Jesus
by the work of the Spirit present now.


Prayer texts:

Explanation of the Principle and Foundation Sp Exs [23]. It is Jesus who gives us the desire and strength for it.

To appreciate that however God calls us, it is with the power of the risen Jesus that we can respond.

2Cor 12:1-10 When I am powerless ... then I am strong.
Phil 3:7-16 I count everything as loss except knowing Jesus.
Jn 14:15-20,
I shall ask Abba, who will give you another advocate, the Spirit who will teach you everything.
Lk 24:36-53 Then Jesus opened their minds to understand scripture ... remain here until you are clothed with power from on high.
Jer 17:5-11; Jn 7:37-39; Jn 15:1-8,16-17; Acts 4:5-22;
Lk 5:1-11; Phil 1:18--26; Phil 4:4-13.

Spiritual Freedom

        Spiritual freedom exists in those moments
when I am grasped so completely by the love of Christ Jesus
that all the desires of my heart and the actions, affects, thoughts and decisions
that flow from these desires are oriented to my loving God.
In those moments I desire to return love for love
through my service and praise made manifest
in cooperating with God's desires for our planet.

A Prayer for Spiritual Freedom

 O Spirit of God we ask you to help orient
all our actions by your inspirations,
and carry them on by your gracious assistance,
that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from you
and through you be happily ended.

Teach me to listen, O God,
to those nearest me,
my family, my friends, my co-workers.
Help me to be aware that
no matter what words I hear,
the message is,
"Accept the person I am. Listen to me."

 Teach me to listen, My Caring God,
to those far from me -
the whisper of the hopeless,
the plea of the forgotten,
the cry of the anguished.

 Teach me to listen, O God my Mother,
to myself.
Help me to be less afraid,
to trust the voice inside,
in the deepest part of me.

 Teach me to listen, Holy Spirit,
for your voice -
in busyness and in boredom,
in certainty and in doubt,
in noise and in silence.

 Teach me, O God, to listen.2



The Holy One made a covenant with Abraham and later spoke to the people of Israel through the prophets. God gave them a land in which to live and gave them a summary of God's desires for them:
This is what the Holy One asks of you,
only this,
to act justly,
to love tenderly,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Israel did not pay attention to these desires.
They went their own way.
Their Divine Husband loved them beyond telling and did not cease to call them back:
God's Lament

Have I been a desert for Israel or
a land of deepest gloom?
Then why do my people say,
We will go our own way,
we will no longer come to you?
Does a girl forget her ornaments,
a bride her sash?
And yet my people have forgotten me,
for days beyond number.
Who was it you dreaded and feared,
that you should disown me
and not remember me
and refuse me a place in your heart?
Your salvation is in conversion and tranquillity,
Your strength in complete trust
and you would have none of it.
And I was thinking,
How I wanted to rank you with my children,
and give you a country of delights,
the finest heritage of all the nations
I had thought you would call me, my father,
and would never cease to follow me
But like a woman betraying her lover,
the house of Israel had betrayed me.

The Nurturing One

When Israel was an infant I loved them
and called my child out of Egypt.
But the more I called to them, the further they went from me.
I myself taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in my arms
yet they have not understood that I was looking after them.
I was leading them with the reins of kindness, with bands of love.
I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks
stooping down to them I fed them.

Is Ephraim, so dear a child, so favoured,
that after each threat of mine
I must still be deeply moved for them,
and let my tenderness yearn over them?

Ephraim, how could I part with you?
Israel, how could I give you up?
My heart recoils from it, my whole being trembles at the thought.
Does a woman forget her baby at the breast,
or fail to cherish the child of her womb?

Yet even if these forget I will never forget you,
for I am God, not a mere human;
I am the Holy One in your midst
and have no wish to destroy.

Israel you are sinful!

Jacob, you have not invoked me,
you have not troubled yourself, Israel, on my behalf.
I have never burdened you with oblations,
nor troubled you for incense.
Instead you have burdened me with your sins,
troubled me with your iniquities.
It is I who must blot out everything
and not remember your sins.

 The Promise

Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame,
do not be dismayed, you will not be disgraced.
I will betroth you to myself forever,
with integrity and justice,
with tenderness and love.
I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness,
and you will come to know your Caring God,
for your creator will be your spouse.
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
because you are honoured and I love you,
I will make you an eternal pride, a joy forever and ever.

The Reconciliation

A noise is heard on the bare heights
the weeping and entreaty of the heirs of Israel,
because they have gone so wildly astray,
and forgotten the Almighty, their God.
"Come back, my disloyal offspring, I want to heal your disloyalty"
"We are here, we are coming to you,
for you are the Holy One, our God ...
The heights are a delusion after all,
so is the tumult of the mountains.
Our God, our only God is, after all, the saviour of Israel."


 Phase 1:
How we need God's grace to grow in interior freedom 
to fulfil the human responsibility to which our same Creator calls us.
Lk 1:26-38 Annunciation - to be able to say "let it be done to me according to your will."
Jn 3:22-30 John the Baptist - to be able to say "he must grow greater and I smaller."
Gen 22:1-18 Story of Abraham and Isaac - to be able to have the trust and openness of Abraham.
Phil 3:7-11  To be able to come to that same perspective of St. Paul when I consider all the advantages I had as disadvantages.
            Supplementary Readings:
Heb 11:17-19; 2P 2:19; Phil 4:11-13; Gen 12:1-9; Mk 10:17-31
Mt 6:19-21; 1Jn 2:15-17; Lk 18:18-30.

 Phase 2:
An awareness of how God leads us to freedom
from sin and its effects with mercy and compassion.
Sir 18:1-14 Divine mercy: God is patient with us and desires to shower us mercy.
Heb 10:1-18 By this `will' we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus once for all.
Is 1:16-18 Though your sins be like scarlet they will become as white as snow.
Lk 15 Whole chapter is on God's loving mercy.
        Supplementary Readings:
Ez 36:25-27;  Ps 51:1-17;  Jn 21:15-17;  Jn 10:1-18;
Mt 23:33-39; Eph 1:3-23

 Phase 3
An awareness of my sinful condition and amazement at God's continuing love.
Lk 15:11-20 The prodigal - experience of separation from God.
Rom 7:14-25 I cannot do the things I want to do. Experience of helplessness.
Rom 5: l-ll We were still helpless when Christ died for us.
Lk 8:26-39 Gerasene Demoniac - experience of sin as being bound by an alien power.
Lk 16:19-31 Rich man and Lazarus - sin as separation leading to hell.
        Supplementary Readings:
Jn 1:5-2:2; Mt 13:36-50; Is 63:7-19; Is 6:8-13
Ez 11:18-21; Gal 4:3-7; Heb 10:26-31.

Phase 4:
A growing awareness of my own personal sinfulness
with a deep sense of sorrow and gratitude.
Lk 7:36-50 Sinful woman washes the feet of Jesus.
Lk 18:9-14 Pharisee and publican.
Jn 4:5-42 Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
Ps 38:1-22 Prayer for sinners `My iniquities overwhelm me'
Ps 51:1-19 Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.
        Supplementary Readings:
Ps 103; Jm 1:13-18; Mt 7:1-5; Lk 22:31-34,54-62; Gal 5:13-22
Lk 14:16-24; Lk 10:25-37 (Jesus as the good Samaritan)

Phase 5:
A growing awareness of the hidden disordered tendencies of my life with continuing sorrow - all the while seeking the freeing action of Jesus.
Ez 16:1-22,59-63 Allegorical history of Israel - continual protective love of God while I misuse God's gifts.
2 Sam ch 11 vs 1 to ch 12 vs 14 David's sin, Nathan's allegory - You are the one - David does not see his own sin.
Mk 7:14-23 What comes out of a person makes one unclean - evil intentions emerge from our hearts.
1Jn 2:12-29 Detachment from the world ... love for God and worldliness don't harmonize.
Jn 8  whole ch. Jesus' debate with pharisees. Those who consider themselves righteous are children of the devil and don't know it.
        Supplementary Readings:
Jm 4:13-17;  Jm 3;  1Tim 6:3-14;  Mt 13:24-30,36-43;  2P 2:18-22.

 Phase 6:
Grateful awareness that up to this very moment
God has shown me so much love and mercy.
Jn 13:1-20  Jesus washes his disciples' feet.
Jn 19:25-37 Jesus dies on the cross - from his side flow blood and water.
Jn 21:15-12 Jesus forgives Peter - Feed my sheep.
Eph 1:3-10 Praised be God ... in Christ every spiritual blessing
        Supplementary Readings:
Ps 147:1-20; Jn 14:1-27: Gal 2:19-21; Gal 4:1-7; 1Tim 1:12-17
Heb 4:14-5:10; Jn 10:7-18; Jn 6:25-59; Jn 11:1-44.

1. I am grateful to the Loyola House Staff at Guelph for the development of the concept of the Disposition Days. My rendition here differs from the present practice at Guelph and represents the Disposition Days from 1974-1980. Also loads of thanks for supporting me over so many years and giving me the time to exercise creativity. Back to document

2. Author is unknown to me. Back to document

3. This prayer pattern is the pattern of the FIRST WEEK of the Sp Exs through scripture. Back to document

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