Understanding And Using The Exercises
The Complete Chapter 30
Orientations, Vol 2: Part B
When we wear tinted glasses, we see our external environment in a tinted way. With respect to every single thing in our understanding of life, we cannot help but wear tinted glasses. Just as our understanding of life depends on our own culture, worldview and other perspectives, so also does our understanding of spirituality. In addition, the mental frameworks by which we understand the spiritual journey in general, and the Exercises in particular, determine how we guide directees. All these perspectives inevitably affect how and what we really hear when we are listening to our directees. Therefore it is helpful to reflect on the different perspectives from which we can understand and present the Spiritual Exercises.
This chapter is an attempt to outline clearly many of the perspectives of commentators and directors of the Exercises. Hopefully, these descriptions will help you evaluate the perspectives in your own theory and practice and in that of others. Towards the end of this chapter I shall indicate the perspectives of this manual.
---- Major Approaches When Giving The Exercises ----
Guiding A Directee
"From Outside In" Or "From Within"
When a director of the Exercises uses the From Outside In approach, she proposes the structure of Exercises somewhat in advance of the expected prayer experience of the directee. In this approach, the spiritual director may even use the text of the Exercises more literally, waiting for the directee's response or reaction to the proposed "text" of the Exercises. Thus, the spiritual director leads the directee into the experience of the Exercises and guides the directee in terms of the experience that emerges. For example, a directee may not be quite ready for the Third Exercise of the First Week, yet the spiritual director may propose it. The content and structure of the exercise proposed from this perspective (with God, of course!) provokes or calls forth an experience corresponding to the exercise.
The second major approach is From Within. With this approach, the spiritual director has the text of the Exercises at the back of her head and uses the text only as a means of recognizing the experience that is emerging from the directee at the directee's own pace. Thus, after proposing six weeks of prayer on God's love, she may wait another five weeks or even more until the directee has begun to experience the Desolation of the First Week before proposing, for example, the story of the Prodigal Son. In this From Within approach, the spiritual director does not lead the directee into the prayer experience but waits for it to emerge, recognizing the emergence in terms of her understanding of the dynamic of Exercises. Then, only at that point, does the spiritual director propose material for the prayer exercise that harmonizes with the prayer experience that is already quite evident. In this latter approach, some spiritual directors may or may not give portions of the actual text of the Exercises to the directee.
The following chart may further clarify the differences in these two basic approaches:
From Outside In From Within SD (spiritual director) leads. SD follows. SD proposes text in terms of prayer experience of directee. SD understands prayer experi-ence of directee in terms of text. SD uses text literally and adapts it only after directee seems to have difficulty with it. SD uses an adapted version of text rather than literal text, usually after directee has begun to receive the Grace of the particular exercise. In the closed directed retreat setting, SD may wait five days for the directee to get settled and uses a more-or-less fixed approach to the Disposition Days before introducing First Week. In the closed directed retreat setting, SD waits indefinitely for directee's experience of First Week to emerge and then proposes the text that corresponds to experience already being made manifest. SD gives direction in terms of prayer experience that has emerged in response or reaction to text, and then tracks or follows the experience that is being expressed by directee. SD waits for the expected experience to appear and is very adept at proposing "the next little step" that is emerging, but not yet recognized by directee himself. Readiness of directee is some-what controlled by expected time it takes to give the Exercises and implicit contract between SD and directee to complete them by a certain date. Readiness is almost totally dependent on pace of directee; in closed retreat setting of thirty days, directee may only have completed the first two Weeks of the Exercises. SD asks directee to make explicit use of Repetition to allow process and dynamic of prayer experience to develop. SD and directee may not appreciate the intentional and explicit use of the actual method of Repetition; SD achieves its purpose more implicitly. This approach fosters the prin-ciple that discernment is primarily in the directee, and not primarily in the spiritual director. This approach places the activity of discernment primarily in the spiritual director and not primarily in the directee.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both these ways of directing the Exercises. Here are some when one directs the Exercises From Outside In:1. In this approach, the directee learns the technical language of the Exercises, and in time, he can begin to identify his day-to-day religious experiences with the technical language of an accepted and useful tradition. After the Exercises journey is over, the hope is that he will continue to use the spirituality of the Exercises in a more conscious way to understand his own personal life, the spiritual experiences of other individuals, and the spiritual experiences manifested in groups.(2)Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of directing the Exercises From Within:
2. Another important advantage is that a prayer guide or director of the Exercises does not have to be as sophisticated in this approach. She can follow a program; each step within the Exercises is spelled out. Her directee is helped by that very structure to discern for himself. On the other hand, to give the Exercises From Within, a spiritual director needs to be trained to a higher level of competence in the use of the implied dynamics behind the text of the Exercises, in listening skills, and in psychological counselling. This means that sufficiently competent people could be excluded from giving the Exercises until they reach a much higher level of competency.
3. A case can be made from the text of the Exercises that, except for the giving of the actual text to the directee, directing From Outside In was the normal method envisaged by Ignatius.
4. The key disadvantage of this method is that a director may not respect the directee's responses and so may propose material for which he might not be psychologically or spiritually ready. In doing so, she would miss an essential ingredient of the Exercises; namely, the requirement to adapt them to the directee's capabilities.1. The key advantage of this approach is that the directee moves through the Exercises according to his readiness. For example, the spiritual director waits for several days in the closed retreat setting, or a few weeks in the notation- setting, for the emerging struggle of the cost of discipleship. When this struggle emerges, the spiritual director recognizes that this is the expected experience of the Two Standards Exercise. Consequently, the directee is likely to have a better experience because he has entered into this discipleship struggle and is resolving it on his own. Thus his experience should be better. After all, this experience emerged from the directee's own genuine need; it is not part of a program being imposed upon him so that he will attain the correct graces.
2. When it comes to applying the learnings from the Exercises to the nuts-and-bolts of life after the Exercises journey is over, this perspective may have some disadvantages. For instance, if the spiritual director in the above example does not give the directee the Two Standards text or even name its focus, the directee may not have appropriated the language and the practical theology to apply his learnings, consciously, in daily life afterwards.
A Formation Instrument and/or
The Exercises are designed to be given as a Learning-Formation Processand/or as a Once-in-a-Lifetime Profound Experience. Giving the Exercises with one or the other of these perspectives will affect a spiritual director's expectations, choice of approach, and expected outcome for the directee after the Exercises journey is over.
If a spiritual director is using the Exercises as an instrument of a Learning-Formation Process, one of the goals will be to give the directee the affective and intellectual skills and tools for the practical use of this spirituality later on in life. Part of these tools and skills will be a conscious grasp of the theology and dynamic of the Exercises. For example, techniques of decision-making will be important to use later on in life when the directee has finished the Exercises journey and wishes to discern decisions. Hence, to lay the groundwork during the Exercises journey, the spiritual director should intentionally make explicit use of the Guidelines for Discerning Spirits with such technical words as Consolation, Desolation, Temptation Under the Guise of Light, Repetition, etc. Then the directee will be able to recognize those movements surfacing in his own prayer experience and to make judgments about them to encourage their development. Later, these skills and tools of decision-making will be more readily available for his use. This is empowerment for his use of Ignatian spirituality.
It is for this Learning-Formation purpose that the Exercises were traditionally used in novitiates. It became the foundation for building the more focused teachings and further asceticism that followed the experience of the month-long Exercises. Consequently, the expectation of readiness in the directee may not be as rigorous as it would be for the Exercises considered as a Once-in-a-Lifetime Profound Experience in which the Exercises journey should be so profound that one's life is decisively redirected and empowered in that direction.(3) Such a profound experience presumes that the directee is unambiguously ready for the First Week. With this perspective, the spiritual director extends much effort in the preparation before the Exercises begin. The once-in-a-lifetime perspective presumes that the directee is in the Call Mode.
Directees Make The Exercises Journey In Different Modes
When a directee is in the Exercises journey, we can understand his stance as being in a Healing Mode, in a Purgative Mode,(4) in a Call Mode or in some combination of these three modes. We are well aware from our experience of ourselves and that of others that every human being constantly needs a certain amount of healing. In addition, the recurring Lenten season of our church calendars reminds us that everyone, including generous and mature Call-Mode persons, constantly needs forgiveness. We must all walk the way of the Purgative Mode, which refers to those moments on our spiritual journey when we must become free from our obvious, and not so obvious, sinfulness and its effects on the choices we make. A directee is considered to be in a Call Mode when he makes the Exercises journey more intentionally and explicitly to discover God's call and is ready to make particular decisions concerning God's desires for his cooperation in the development of God's household.
With respect to the hypothetical directee progressing through the experience of the Exercises according to notation , the text of the Exercises presumes that, at least by the beginning of the Second Week, he has moved out of a focus that was mainly purgative into a predominant focus of call. This means that, by the Second Week, his attitude is expected to be focused on how he can better serve Jesus, concretely and specifically. Also, the Exercises text presumes that his Christian identity and interior freedom are such that he will probably be needing the Second Set of Guidelines for Discerning Spirits. Being sufficiently forgiven and/or healed, he is no longer expected to be focused primarily on his own need for the forgiving and healing love of the Saviour. Very aware of his own continual brokenness, the hypothetical directee, at this point in the Exercises journey, desires and is actually ready to return love for love in the upbuilding of the God's household in whatever concrete ways God will show him.
When we consider the experiences of many who have journeyed through the Exercises both in the closed retreat setting  and in the notation- setting of daily life, we discover that some directees remain in the Healing Mode for most of the Exercises journey. As discussed more fully in Chapter 24, what characterizes directees in the Healing Mode is not so much the depth and extent of their need for inner healing at this point in their lives but rather their primary or predominant focus upon their own growth issues. When these directees are making the Second Week, they often continue to experience healing of their childhood wounds -- healing in relation to parents, friends, and life -- as they continue to develop their relationship with Jesus. When praying the Colloquies of the Two Standards or of the Three Degrees of Humility, they respond by asking "to put up with" -- that is, passively -- the suffering and insults of life. On the other hand, if these directees were in the Call Mode, they would respond to these particular exercises by desiring and choosing a concrete way to imitate Jesus, poor and insulted, through their cooperation with others in the development of God's household! Such a Healing-Mode stance is different from the stance implied in the literal text, written from a Call-Mode understanding and expectation.(5)
In the Exercises as a Once-in-a-Lifetime Profound Experience, this kind of healing is presumed as part of the directee's readiness for the Exercises. The directee is presumed to be focused on his personal relationship with Jesus in the context of Jesus' desire for the directee's cooperation with God's designs for humankind, not on his own need for growth or on his own incapacity to love and be loved.
On the other hand, if the Exercises are considered as a Learning-Formation Process, the spiritual director will not necessarily expect such healing to have taken place in the directee before the Exercises journey. She will be not be surprised if the directee receives only healing responses to the various "call" texts such as the Kingdom, Two Standards, Three Classes, and Three Degrees prayer exercises. She will know that the directee may only reach the Call Mode sometime later, during or after the Exercises journey.
Exercises For Different Levels Of Maturity
The Exercises text accounts for many differences in directees such as age, health, generosity, education and natural talent. There are many suggestions and hints on how to adapt the prayer material to a variety of dispositions. The text itself does not indicate how to adapt the use of the text for directees who are likely to remain in a more Healing Mode.
Notation  shows how the First Week and other spiritual helps from the Exercises text can be used for the "typical" uneducated person of Ignatius' day. If one is old enough to remember the style and content of a Roman Catholic parish mission of the 1950s, with its stress on receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, or if one is familiar with the style and content of an evangelical revival with its emphasis on the altar call, one will have some idea of how Ignatius envisaged applying the First Week according to notation . The content of the First Week, rather than the dynamic behind it, was to be in the foreground.(6)
Notation , as outlined by Ignatius in the text of the Exercises, seems to be an extended version of notation . Notice that, in notation , the directee is instructed to make one Meditation after another; there is no mention of the need for Repetition! The cumulative effect of making one Meditation after another, without any Repetitions, may very well have had the same effect that people, in more recent times, receive from Cursillo-type experiences where the hoped-for goal is more to foster a second conversion. Perhaps for Ignatius, the expected experience was such a second conversion; that is, an encounter with Jesus, establishing a felt personal relationship -- a "born again" experience. On the other hand, in the Exercises according to Notation , the making of Repetitions is presumed immediately in the First Week . Further, the description in Notation  does not seem to indicate that Ignatius expected the significant experiences that he did for the Exercises according to Notation . Therefore we can make a threefold distinction. The Exercises according to the text itself can be given as:a) A program to help in preparation for the sacrament of reconciliation ;The adaptation of the Exercises for directees in the Healing Mode is an important question today. We live with a developmental worldview in a culture which is in transition; social scientists refer to this time as post-modern. Because it is a time when many people in our culture are overly interiorized and psychologized, it becomes inevitable that many directees experience themselves as always needing to be integrated. In other words, if the context in which we live is uncertain and if we have the time and leisure to pay attention to its consequences in our spirits, then our own deepening awareness of our personal brokenness constantly creates our need for healing.(7)
b) A program to help dispose one for a more interior conversion ;
c) A manual of spiritual exercises which are intended to foster a process to dispose one for a profound and complete redirection of one's life in God's service .
Two Purposes -- Holiness And/Or Discernment
Traditionally, commentators have understood the purpose of the Exercises journey according to notation  as having two aspects:1. School of Prayer -- a means to lead a directee into deeper union with God; andOver the years, commentators have debated which of these is primary. The School-of-Prayer aspect emphasizes that the goal of the Exercises is union with the Trinity. Often we see this experienced during the deep Gospel Contemplations in the course of the Exercises journey. The expectation of spiritual directors with this goal is that the mysticism of this experience spills over into the service of God in one's day-to-day life afterwards. The Instrument-of-Decision-Making aspect emphasizes the role of the Election. Spiritual directors with this latter emphasis will stress the Election and discernment processes more explicitly than those who accent the School-of-Prayer aspect. Whatever stance we take concerning the priority of these aspects, we cannot deny that the literal text of the Spiritual Exercises is written from a Call-Mode perspective presuming the use of the Guidelines for Discerning Spirits, a process that leads through the Election to a decision.
2. Instrument of Decision-Making -- designed to lead a directee to discover God's desires for himself in the overall and practical direction of his life.
Exercises -- A Private Or Public Affair
The characteristics of our time in the 20th century lead us to make other distinctions which affect the perspective from which we approach the Exercises. There is the distinction between Individual-Personal-Private religious experience and Personal-Societal religious experience.(8) In our North American culture, religion has been so privatized and the understanding of ourselves so individualized that spiritual experiences are often received only on an individual, personal and private level; that is, they do not flow out into the public domain. Hence, interior experiences received during the Exercises journey may help directees become individually good persons who operate morally, ethically and charitably at home and at work. Seldom do such religious experiences affect directees' mindsets and the consequent activities upon social structures of which they are part and which they, unknowingly, help to maintain. In the past twenty years, many spiritual directors have noticed that religious experiences received by directees who are not conscientized societally do not move automatically to stances and actions that question the structures which dominate them.(9) On the other hand, directees who have been conscientized societally are more apt to receive the effects of the Exercises in a more societal way. Here is a listing of facets of the stances of these two spiritualities:
Individual-Personal-Private Personal-Societal Understands sin as the breaking of one's personal relationship with God and others; personal purity and charity as having higher values than other virtues, and consequently, perceives sexual irresponsibility as a greater evil than greed. Understands sin not only as a breaking of one's personal relationship with God and others, but also as being carried over into social structures which enslave others; social responsibility and charity as having higher values than other virtues, and consequently, perceives greed as a more serious evil than sexual irresponsibility. Focuses on the need for wholeness; stresses personal freedom from one's own sinfulness and addictions and from the effects of being sinned against by others in one's past history. Focuses on society's need for wholeness and one's need to be free enough to contribute to that. Desires to be united with Jesus in order to improve one's own relationship with others. Desires to be united with Jesus, the Christ, in order to contribute to and to help to create graced structures by replacing evil structures with those that will help incarnate God's desires for us. Understands compassion as going out of oneself in order to love another. Understands and develops compassion as helping to create a more just world by the fair distribution of resources and the proper stewardship of the earth carried out in cooperation with others.
There is another distinction needed at this time in the history of our planet and of the development of the Exercises spirituality. It is needed also if directees are to receive the effects of the Exercises in a way appropriate to the present needs of our culture. It incorporates both the Individual-Personal-Private and the Personal-Societal. In addition, this distinction points to a spirituality that goes beyond both, even when they exist together. For the sake of a name, I call this paradigm of spirituality Communal-Societal.
This distinction is slippery, and so you may misinterpret my use of the term "communal." You may interpret it as meaning only interpersonal or some form of teamwork where people remain with their Individual-Personal-Private spirituality and operate temporarily as a team or live together in a L'Arche home or monastic community. In these cases, this would be reducing the Communal-Societal spirituality to some form of mutual cooperation for the benefit of individuals. My working definition is:Communal-Societal spirituality exists when mature Christians understand and accept themselves humbly, as a small part of the larger universe, while using discerning processes for making decisions and implementing actions together in cooperation with God's desires for us on our planet.At this moment in history, human beings can only attempt to solve the problems of planet earth by acting together. We are moving quickly into a situation which is totally different from any that has ever existed before. The future of our planet depends on whether we have the courage to put our individualism aside and act in new ways together with a kind of interdependence that few of us in our generation have ever known. Communal-Societal spirituality calls us to place aside our private agendas and personal desires for wholeness and to deal with more pressing, common-good agendas. Our human, environmental, and social problems, with their underlying spiritual issues, can no longer be dealt with significantly by individuals working individually. "The greatest threat today is environmental insecurity. It overlaps all national boundaries, affects our shared ecosystems.... Ecological systems will not change; our thought systems and policies, our governments and institutions can and must change."(10) Consequently, individuals can no longer prevent the two-dollar chicken in a Jamaican store from becoming a thirty-dollar chicken!
Formerly, decisions that we made in private or with others with the help of discerning prayer were always made with some idea of what the future context might look like; in some ways, the future was an extension of the past. Now, we have no idea of the future with one exception: If we want to act significantly, responsibly, and with relevance, we are called to make decisions and to take actions in our service of God with a new kind of interdependence.
In addition to the characteristics of the Individual-Personal-Private and the Personal-Societal paradigms, Communal-Societal spirituality implies that a person:
In the history of `scholastic' philosophy, there is a Latin principle of perception that can be translated: "Whatever is received, is received according to the mode of the receiver."(13) For example, when water is poured into a round container, the water takes on the round shape. When one puts on coloured glasses, the external surroundings are usually seen in a coloured way. In the same way, religious experiences are usually received according to the receiver's cultural and mental frameworks.
- Knows how to work with others of good will even with different belief systems;
- Is able to be free enough to seek the common good rather than one's own personal and individual good;
- Is able to make use of the variety of skills, gifts and insights that others have;
- Sees life as a mutual affair with both God and others;
- Is ready to take radical steps to help share the world's resources in creative ways and to help protect our planet from further destruction;
- Understands life from the viewpoint of God's word through all of creation, including a more ecological(11) understanding of human activity;
- Understands oneself as a very small part of the universe, living in a very small moment of time, and yet appreciates that, with others, one is able to take significant responsibility for the development of the earth within the wider universe;
- Understands salvation as communal hope beyond a personal and individual experience;
- Feels, desires, makes choices and lives the following truth: "We can rely on a power at work in nature and the human heart, a power, a truth that will heal and unite us. We will join the dance of the universe, find our common ground here in our garden home -- the earth."(12)
This is a very simple principle of common sense. It explains very succinctly why, even after his unique religious conversion experience, Paul continued to accept and foster slavery as part of his culture. It explains how people can have religious experiences and remain fixed in certain ways of understanding life and human behaviour. It took years and years of struggle and cultural upheaval for good people, even for those who experienced the Exercises, to understand how slavery was an evil institution. Look how many years it has taken for us to appreciate how steeped we are in the system of patriarchy! It is not surprising then that people, whose cultural and mental structures (with their consequent understandings and feelings and ways of deciding and interacting with the world) are rooted in
an Individual-Personal-Private spirituality
a Personal-Societal spirituality
a Communal-Societal spirituality,
will usually receive the graces of the Exercises according to that paradigm of spirituality. Among the many questions(14) about the understanding, expectations and practice of giving the Exercises, this one is important: What is the responsibility of the spiritual director in helping to dispose directees to receive a Communal-Societal experience of the Exercises?
Ministry Of Spiritual Guidance
And Levels Of Competency
The final set of working descriptions concerns the terminology around the various competencies of persons involved in the general area of spiritual guidance or spiritual direction. In this field, there will probably never be clear-cut definitions; it would probably hurt the whole notion of spiritual direction if there were! It seems to me that if we were to imitate the scientific and rationalistic mindset by "professionalizing" the field of spiritual direction, we would be merely adding to the proliferation of specialties which are dehumanizing our culture in the effort to exercise more control. If we were to allow ourselves to get caught in this process, we would probably destroy the very nature of being a soul friend. On the other hand, we always need working descriptions to help us understand each other. Here are my working descriptions:
A Prayer Companion's competency is one of being able to stand with another in faith; that is, to listen and share faith experiences with the practical wisdom of a prayerful mature Christian. She is able to teach some basic methods for praying and reflecting on interior experiences. She has made some directed retreats and workshops on prayer, has experienced direction herself, has had training in listening skills, and has that basic level of psychological literacy that mature adults in our culture possess.
A Prayer Guide's competency includes all the above. In addition, she has made the Exercises journey, has received more training in listening skills, has made some workshops on the Exercises, and is able to guide the Exercises according to the From-Outside-In approach under qualified supervision. Further, she is able to design small-type prayer programs for congregational settings and to function as a guide for a Week of Directed Prayer in a church setting.
A Director of the Exercises has all the competencies included above. In addition, the director has such deep understanding of the Exercises text that this understanding has become second nature. She is skilled enough to give the Exercises in a team setting with peer-peer supervision.
A Spiritual Director has all the competencies included above. As well, she has had training and supervision in the skill of ongoing spiritual direction. She has a working familiarity with spiritualities of other traditions and is able to recognize the presence or absence of their phenomena in Ignatian Spirituality. She is able to engage in ongoing practical theological reflection with peers in similar work.
Perspectives Of This Manual
The chart below indicates the perspectives from which this manual is written:
From Outside In Yes From Within No Learning-Formation Process Yes Once-in-a-Lifetime Profound Experience No School of Prayer Yes and No Instrument of Decision-Making Yes Notation  No Notation  Yes, but presumes that directee has already experienced a second conversion.
Notation  Yes and No Purgative Mode Yes, for the material on First Week. Healing Mode Not primarily, but with comments open to this within the Running Commentaries. Chapter 24 deals with this entirely. Call Mode Yes, because this handbook is a training manual for prayer guides who need to understand the literal text of the Exercises (which is written from a Call-Mode perspective) to be able to make adaptations on their own. Individual-Personal-Private Spirituality Yes Personal-Societal Spirituality No, but with comments open to this. Communal-Societal Spirituality No, but with comments open to this. Prayer Companion This manual presumes this level of competency.
Prayer Guide A large part of this manual is written for training people to operate well on this level of competency. Director of the Exercises Parts of this manual may be of help to a person with this level of competency. Spiritual Director Portions of this manual may be of help to a person with this level of competency. Some parts (particularly in Sections III - V) are intended primarily for this level.
Centres Of Ignatian Spirituality
If you were to visit various centres that foster the spirituality of the Exercises, you would inevitably encounter a variety of other perspectives in the use and understanding of the text of the Exercises. Often it is these latter perspectives concerning the understanding of the text itself that determine the use of those already discussed. Accordingly, teachers and practitioners approach the text of the Exercises primarily from one or a combination of the following perspectives:-- Historical Perspective -- They understand the history of the Exercises text and determine its meaning in terms of this historical perspective. If they were to use this perspective alone, they might tend to stress the cognitive understanding of the content of the text, particularly if they have not experienced its dynamic through the directed retreat method.Ideally, both teachers and spiritual directors should approach the Exercises with all these perspectives in mind, both in theory and in practice. However, what happens is probably what usually happens in most of our approaches to life: one or two focuses always seem to predominate over others because our human minds have a great deal of difficulty in holding all the relevant perspectives in focus.
-- Ongoing-Personal-Development-and-Growth Perspective -- They understand the text of the Exercise from the perspective of the process of human growth, and they guide directees or clients through growth processes using prayer as the focal point. Their main focus tends to be the use of the spirituality of the Exercises for ongoing spiritual direction with a From-Within approach.
-- From-Practice-to-Understanding Perspective -- They use the text of the Exercises literally, but they attend to the interior process presumed by text. They give direction in terms of this process. They note how directees react and respond to the text. From this practical understanding in the present, they theorize about what the text of the Exercises must have meant. Then they use the text with their directees according to this new practical experience.
-- Theological-Cultural-Historical-Literary Perspective -- They understand how we in the western world, throughout our cultural history with its the varying contexts, thought about and experienced spirituality, in general, and the Exercises, in particular. They understand the text of the Exercises in terms of the culture in which the text was written. Then they attempt to help directees come to appreciate the content of the Exercises for the present culture, all the while helping directees pray and move through the Exercises journey. Their concern is to overcome the cultural split between their directees' private and public worlds.
-- Theological Perspective -- They have a good grasp and foundation in systematic theology. They use the lenses of theology and philosophy to understand the Exercises text and the process it envisages. They listen to their directees and help them process their experiences with this same theological thinking.
-- Biblical Perspective -- They put a priority on helping their directees understand and appreciate the Ignatian text from the viewpoint of biblical themes. Consequently, in preparing directees for the Exercises journey, they spend much time emphasizing and encouraging the appropriation of scriptural theology.
Some material for your study, reflection, discussion .....1. Use the perspectives suggested in this chapter to evaluate articles and books on the practice of giving the Exercises.
2. Take an imaginary trip around the world and visit some important centres of Ignatian Spirituality. What perspectives would you expect to discover being used by the practitioners and teachers in these centres?
3. If a spiritual guide using the Exercises were not conscious of the influences of her culture and heritage on her thinking and feeling about life, what perspectives is she likely to use if she were from:
a) North America? b) Europe? c) Quebec? d) Rome?
4. In this chapter, I have suggested that the From-Outside-In approach places discernment primarily with the directee and, therefore, can be more empowering for a directee than the From-Within approach. Do you agree with this? Why or why not?
1. They use Repetition implicitly by recognizing that the directee by himself has allowed the particular movement to deepen sufficiently. They make use of it less intentionally and often may not explain or name the technique explicitly.
2. Very creative and practical work was done in applying the spiritual principles of the Exercises to group life through the Guelph Centre of Spirituality and through the facilitative work and publications of the Institute of Contemporary Spirituality at Scranton University, Pennsylvania.
3. One wonders whether such an expectation is realistic in our culture. We no longer live in a static society, we travel, we live longer, we experience ourselves as developing rather than remaining more or less fixed in an adult state of maturity, and furthermore, the future is no longer an extension of the past.
4. Thank you to Elaine Frigo, CSSF, staff member of Loyola House, Guelph, for the ideas behind this paragraph.
5. In fact, for some directees, the Second Set of Guidelines for Discerning is hardly needed at all. In this manual, consult Chapter 29, "Guidelines For Discerning Spirits," particularly section C, "Second Set Of Guidelines."
6. The conversion processes in the practice of such programs as the present Rite for the Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) in the Roman church are more developmental than Ignatius envisaged in notation .
7. In a transitional culture such as ours, the need for healing is always present. Our psychological awarenesses and our intense experience of our own individual uniqueness heighten this need. Therefore, ongoing comments concerning the use of the Exercises for directees in a Healing Mode are made at various points in this manual.
8. The use of the word `societal' is to denote the awareness and appreciation of how our life experiences are affected by organizational structures and systems which affect the paradigms and elusive mental structures by which we think and feel about ourselves and our environment. For a very helpful article on aspects of such a spirituality, consult James M. Keegan, "To Bring All Things Together," PRESENCE: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, vol. 1 (January 1995), p.4ff.
9. One has only to reflect on how, for generations, religion and spirituality prevented women from becoming aware of and acknowledging their societal experiences.
10. This quotation is from Mary Southard's 1989 calendar entitled, "Wounded Earth, Wonder Earth." Send inquiries to: Calendar -- Sisters of St. Joseph, 1515 Ogden Ave., La Grange Park, Il., 60525-1798.
11. "No generation has been asked to do what we must do: Change our whole way of seeing, thinking, valuing, behaving! To place the well-being of nature as the first priority of our society, to re-order our personal, familial, national, international patterns -- our economics, waste disposal, our addictions to consumption.... To measure the quality of human life in terms other than wealth. Previous changes in human thinking of this magnitude (e.g., the abolition of human sacrifice) have taken long periods of time. Our change must be swift if we are to survive. And there are no road maps...." -- from Mary Southard's 1989 calendar entitled, "Wounded Earth, Wonder Earth."
12. From Mary Southard's 1989 calendar entitled, "Wounded Earth, Wonder Earth."
13. "Quidquid recipitur secundum modum recipientis recipitur."
14. How necessary are the following conversions in this Communal-Societal spirituality: intellectual? religious? affective? moral? societal? What stages of faith development (Fowler) and moral development (Kolhberg) are presumed in the Exercises for a person in the Call Mode according to Communal-Societal spirituality? How does one prepare potential directees to perceive, from a systemic viewpoint, important issues affecting human life?
Go to Table Of Contents Of Orientations Volume 2