Glossary Of Working Definitions
Of Terms Associated With This Website (1)

From R through Z

 1. Please note the meaning of the following signs associated with many of the terms in this glossary: 2.  Also please note how some terms have been capitalized to indicate technical words associated with the Exercises or those particularly significant in this manual. 

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Reliance on reason, as opposed to sense experience, for establishing what is true (Wulff). Rationalism is the philosophical position that reality has a logical structure that can be known by means of deductive reasoning (Creamer). Rationalism, which flourished in the 19th century, was influenced by such earlier philosophies as that of Descartes. See Cartesian Mind, Classicist Worldview.

Reformation of Life (*) (!)
Notation [189], "To ... reform one's own life and state" (Mullan), refers to the changes that a directee might consider making within his/her already established state of life. Within Ignatius' context and social framework, when one has entered the Exercises journey and must continue living in one's permanent commitment or state of life, one cannot make an Election but only a "reformation of life" and state [171].(19) See Election.

Repetition (*)
A spiritual exercise by which one intentionally returns, in a later prayer exercise, to a point where one has experienced some movement in prayer [62] -- moments of Consolation (a sense of being lifted up, a sense of God's presence, an unexpected understanding or meaning, etc.); or moments of Desolation (struggle, uncomfortableness, a sense of God's absence, etc.); or moments of spiritual appreciation (a sense of the beginning or deepening appreciation of some insight or awareness).

The exclusion of disturbing impulses, images, or thoughts from consciousness by an ongoing process that itself lies outside of awareness. Repression is the most basic defense mechanism (Wulff).

In general, resistance is any force that tends to oppose a motion. In psychological terms, resistance can be described as a person's psychic defenses against bringing unconscious and preconscious material (thoughts, feelings, images, memories, etc.) to light. In spiritual direction, resistance is any conscious or less-than-conscious block that hinders a person's deepening relationship with God; this can occur in prayer itself, in a directee's relationship with the spiritual director, and vice versa. See Dark Night, Desolation, Dryness, Projection, Transference, Countertransference.

Review (*) (!)
A distinct method or spiritual exercise used in the Exercises journey by which the directee reflects, by oneself, on his/her own experiences of the prayer exercise just finished and notices, by oneself, the spiritual movements that were taking place during the time of the prayer exercise [77].

A Catholic devotion, centering on the mysteries of the life of Jesus and Mary, recited with the aid of a circular string of beads called a rosary. The most common rosary consists of 50 Hail Mary's (the angel's salutation to Mary on telling her that she was to give birth to Jesus), arranged in groups of ten (decades), with each decade preceded by an "Our Father" and followed by a "Gloria" (adapted from Wulff). See Mystery.

Anxious over-attentiveness to the details of moral or religious requirements (Wulff).

Second Set of Guidelines for Discerning Spirits (+)
The set of guidelines, contained in notations [328]-[336], is for the more subtle understanding of the movement of spirits. These are the guidelines that would benefit directees who are quite interiorly free and experiencing a personal closeness, other-centredness, and generosity towards God. If they experience temptation, it is likely to be a Temptation Under the Guise of Light. Many of their interior attitudes and affectivities are aligned with God's desires in such a way that they are close to being spiritually free. The aspect that most distinguishes the Second Set from the First is subtlety, for the Second Set envisages a good person who is more skilled in spiritual awareness and is seduced not so much by obvious disordered attachments, but by being misguided in loving generosity [10], [332].

Second Vatican Council
The twenty-first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic church, the second such council held in the Vatican, took place between 1962 and 1965. Such councils are called ecumenical because they are intended to bring together all the Roman Catholic bishops from the different parts of the world. Vatican II has been called the most important event in the history of the church since the Protestant Reformation and the Council of Trent (adapted from Creamer).

The progressive substituting of non-religious and frequently scientific interpretations of events for the traditional religious ones (Wulff). Secularization also takes place when traditional religious values are replaced by non-religious values; for example, the value of leisure on the Sabbath by the values of competitive business; or the value of mutual forgiveness and reconciliation by the value of financial and legal justice; or the guilt of personal sin by the guilt of not appearing in socially acceptable ways; or the discipline of asceticism and mortification by the discipline of fasting for good health, etc.

Is important in the thought of Bernard Lonergan. Only with the knowledge and appropriation of our interior consciousness, we come to appreciate who we are as human beings and what is true and good (Creamer). This certainly takes place when a spiritual director helps a directee to notice and to reflect upon what is going on in his/her prayer and life experiences. See Noticing.

Sensuality (*)
Pertains to the undue gratification of the physical appetites -- the 'carnal pleasures' that are associated with our body. It is also called the 'concupiscence of the flesh.' There has been a tendency to interpret sensuality as pertaining more to sexual pleasure than to other bodily pleasures (such as the curiosity of the eyes or ears; an undue need to be comfortable and to relax; an undue care for one's personal looks; undue pleasure-seeking in general; etc.) [87], [97].

Serpent's Tail (*)
After the slithering serpent-devil has caused its havoc by its deception, a person can see the serpent's tail by the trail of evil resulting from yielding to the temptation [332].

A term used in Jungian psychology to name the denied and undeveloped side of the personality. At times, it is the unconscious opposite of what an individual expresses in consciousness.

Sin (*)
A person commits a sin whenever one chooses to think, say or do something that one recognizes is contrary to the desires of God. Thus sin is a choosing of what is evil over the good. This includes sins both of commission and of omission.

Social Analysis
Originated in the Latin American context when ordinary and disempowered people needed methods to gain power in oppressive situations. Social analysis is usually done in a facilitated group process to understand the social situation more completely in order to make important decisions for group action. It is an example of critical reflection. See Critical Reflection, Theological Reflection.

Denotes the awareness and appreciation of how our life experiences are affected by organizational structures and systems which affect the paradigms and mental structures by which we think, feel, and make decisions about ourselves and our environment.

Often when Ignatius uses the word "soul," he means the person, the whole self considered as body and soul together. As many Christians have done throughout the ages, Ignatius frequently names the part (soul, from the Latin "anima") to express the whole self, the living human being (adapted from Ganss).

For Ignatius, spirits are always persons, that is, intelligent beings (Ganss). In the biblical and medieval worldviews, a belief in spirits was very much alive as it is in many religious cultures today. According to this belief, there co-exists, in addition to the visible world which can be seen, an invisible world of spirits which continually influence us for good or ill. The psychology of the Exercises takes for granted the existence of spirits. However, to appreciate the subtleties of Ignatian Guidelines for Discerning Spirits and to use them for discriminating and judging spiritual movements, we do not need to believe in the human psychology of the medieval worldview. See Good Spirit, Evil Spirit.

Spiritual Director
In the context of Ignatian spirituality, a spiritual director would be expected to have the competencies of a director of the Exercises. As well, he/she would have had training and supervision in the skill of ongoing spiritual direction. He/she would have a working familiarity with spiritualities of other traditions and their connections with aspects of Ignatian spirituality. He/she would have the Psychological Literacy described in this glossary and would be able to engage in ongoing practical theological reflection with peers in similar ministries. See Director of the Exercises, Prayer Guide.

Spiritual exercises with a small "s" and "e" (*)
The various prayerful programs, techniques and practices which Ignatius gives in his little manual called Spiritual Exercises. He explains this term in notation [1].

Spiritual Exercises with a capital "S" and "E" (*)
The little manual composed by Ignatius Loyola.

Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life (<)
The Exercises journey according to that described in notation [19].

Spiritual Freedom (<)
The term developed and made popular by John English, S.J. In its meaning, it includes what is meant by indifference, detachment and Poverty of Spirit. Spiritual Freedom exists in those moments when a person is grasped so completely by the love of Christ Jesus that the desires of one's heart and the actions, affects, thoughts, and decisions that flow from these desires are oriented toward God. In those moments, one desires to return love for love through one's service and praise made manifest in cooperating with God's desires for our planet and its people. Ignatius' first description of Consolation in notation [316] is itself a good working definition of Spiritual Freedom.

Spiritual Poverty (*)
Another term for Poverty of Spirit. It means an attitude of one's heart according to which a person grows in total dependence on God. It does not mean that one is lacking in spirituality! Since a directee is instructed to pray to be able to follow Jesus in highest Spiritual Poverty [147], this is understood as a special gift from God. Some of the characteristics of a person who lives in highest Spiritual Poverty are these: self-acceptance as a limited and created being; self-acceptance as having made peace with one's own history; dependence on God rather than on one's own resources; acceptance of the fact that one is never totally spiritually free (Whelan); ability to follow the leadings of the Spirit; readiness to let God pierce one's most precious defenses; acceptance of being ordinary; indifference as expressed in notation [166]; etc. See Actual Poverty, Grace of Inadequacy, Spiritual Freedom.

People refer to spirituality as a life of piety, the devout life, the interior life of prayer, etc. Urs von Balthasar wrote that spirituality is the way one understands one's own ethically and religiously committed existence, and the way one acts and reacts habitually according to this understanding. There are many different expressions of Christian spirituality manifesting different aspects of the one mystery of Christ Jesus. The great variety is also influenced by the variety of human psychological types as well as by differences in theology. Although systematic treatment of the spiritual life belongs more to the Catholic than to the Protestant tradition, both traditions have produced spiritual classics (adapted from Dictionary).

Suffer With (*)
See Compassion.

True symbols are not just signs. Etymologically, symbol means "to put together." A symbol reveals a non-perceptible order through a perceptible figure. This revealing function defines the symbol and distinguishes it from a simple sign. Road signs, for example, are figures employed by convention to control chaotic traffic on our highways. They are humanly contrived and do not point us toward any awareness that deepens and enriches our experiences of the physical world. On the other hand, symbol denotes a perceptible figure which evokes an experience that embellishes our worldly existence; it does this by revealing more than what the objective world presents to us in physical perception. The meaning of this experience is never exhausted in a literal or objective definition. It opens a fissure of consciousness that discursive reason cannot easily close (Muldoon).

Temperance (*)
Moderation and balance in the use of food and other necessities of life.

Temptation Under the Guise of Light (*)
The temptation that may be experienced by a spiritually mature, generous person and is described in notation [332]. See Deception.

Theological Reflection
A form of critical reflection that attempts to understand some event or personal experience within its social system in the light of the Bible and trained Theological Thinking. Theological reflection became a developed skill in many theological centres by the late 1970's when teachers of theology, who had reached a more developmental worldview, began to appreciate how their specialty had to be connected to human experiences and, therefore, to other fields of knowledge in order to make their theological theory credible and relevant. It is intended for a group setting. See Critical Reflection, Theological Thinking.

Theological Thinking (+)
A way of thinking used by some spiritual directors when they employ concepts and language based on trained theological understanding. For example, instead of thinking about a directee's lack of self-acceptance either in a generalized fashion or in a more psychological mode, they perceive the issue more from a theological viewpoint such as the directee's need to experience one's creaturehood or to believe in the Incarnation. In other words, spiritual directors think theologically when they perceive the implied theological principles behind human experiences and use these principles in the discerning activity. See Theological Reflection.

Third Kind of Humility (*)
The Third Kind (degree, mode, manner) of Humility is described in notation [167].

Thoughts Caused by Angels (*)
In the Second Set of Guidelines for Discerning Spirits, Ignatius implies that certain types of thoughts are caused by angels rather than by spirits. This distinction does not exist in Roman Catholic teaching. The thoughts caused by angels start out (primarily) as ideas from which affections (secondarily) emerge. Whereas the thoughts that come from spirits start out (primarily) as affections within a person's psyche from which ideas (secondarily) emerge. Consult notions [32] and [331].

Thoughts Caused by Spirits (*)
Consult notation [32]. See Spirits, Angels.

Times of Election (*)
When a directee is on the Exercises journey and discerning a significant decision, there are certain moments in which a decision can be made well. Ignatius calls these moments Times for Making an Election. The three of them are described quite clearly in notations [175], [176], [177]. The Exercises according to notation [20] are written from the perspective of the Second Time [176], the context of Spiritual Freedom discerned from the movement of Spirits.(20)

Tranquility (*)
Ignatius uses this concept in notation [177] in the context of the decision-making process. It is "a time of quiet, when the soul is not acted on by various spirits, and uses its natural powers freely and tranquilly." When experiencing Tranquility, a directee is still in Consolation and could even be experiencing Spiritual Freedom. But in the context of decision-making, the spiritual movements are not clear enough; that is, the indicators of the affective experience do not point to the Unconfirmed Decision with sufficient clarity. See Times of Election, Unconfirmed Decision.

The unconscious assignment, to others, of feelings and attitudes that were originally associated with important figures in one's earlier life. The transference relationship follows the pattern of its prototype. In certain fields of psychotherapeutic counselling (for example, in psychoanalysis), the helper utilizes this phenomenon as a therapeutic tool to help the patient understand emotional problems and their origins. In the patient-physician relationship, the transference may be negative (hostile) or positive (affectionate). In spiritual direction, transference can also take place and can contaminate the process, particularly when the spiritual director is not aware of it and countertransference develops (adapted from Psychiatric).

Trinity (*)
Ignatian spirituality is definitely Trinitarian. It is rooted in the most central and fundamental belief of Christianity that God is one and yet manifests God's self through the persons of the Father, Son and Spirit. The prayer exercise on the Incarnation draws the directee's attention to the foundational belief that the work of Jesus is the work of the Trinity for our salvation [101]. One of the key mystical experiences of Ignatius was related to the Trinity.

Triple Colloquy (*)
The Colloquy which Ignatius suggests at significant points during the Exercises journey and which incorporates three dialogues -- first to Mary, then to Jesus, and then to God the Father -- as in notations [63], [147], [157], [168], [199] and continually in the latter half of the Second Week.

That part of the psyche of which the content is only rarely subject to awareness. It is a repository for data that have never been conscious [primary repression] or that may have become conscious briefly and later repressed [secondary repression] (adapted from Psychiatric).

Unconfirmed Decision (+)
Special term for denoting the decision that a directee has arrived at through a process of discernment before the final phase of Confirmation. See Confirmation.

Vatican Council
See Second Vatican Council.

Vocation (*)
Generally means the same thing as a "calling." In Ignatius' day as well is in present Roman Catholic parlance, a vocation is primarily a calling to a permanent state of life such as marriage, priesthood, single state with vows (vowed celibacy, or vowed commitment to a religious congregation). See Election.

Vows (*)
A serious and binding promise to God within the context of the church by which one commits oneself to a way of life.

In notation [63], the directee is instructed to ask for "a knowledge of the world" so that he/she might not be influenced by it. In our culture, the 'world' would refer to our environment of greed, competition, materialism, workaholism, individualism, and our affluent need to possess things, etc. More subtly, the world implies the influence of our culture which prejudices the way we listen to God's word and keeps us trapped in our mental structures through which, in a vicious circle, we make choices that support the institutions that influence our thinking and choosing.

Worldly Love (*)
See Carnal and Worldly Love.

The way a person perceives the world. It is a symbolic, mental, emotional framework by which one allows oneself to experience, think about, and judge one's environment and what happens to oneself and others within it. See Classicist Worldview, Ecological Worldview, Medieval Worldview, Model, Modern Worldview, Paradigm.

1. This glossary is made up of my "working definitions" of words and concepts actually used or implied in the manual. I have used the following as a help:

David Wulff, Psychology of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Views (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1991); referred to as (Wulff).

American Psychiatric Association, A Psychiatric Glossary, 5th ed. (Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1980); referred to as (Psychiatric).

David G. Creamer, Guides For The Journey (Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1996); referred to as (Creamer).

Mark Muldoon and John Veltri, "From Symbolic Rapport to Public Rhetoric in the Roman Catholic Church," Grail: An Ecumenical Journal, vol. 11, no. 4 (1996), pp.25-43; referred to as (Muldoon).

Alan Richardson, ed., A Dictionary of Christian Theology (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1972); referred to as (Dictionary).

Also from conversations with Elaine Frigo, CSSF (Frigo), Mark S. Muldoon, Ph.D. (Muldoon), Frank H. Whelan, S.J. (Whelan).

2. Consult Ian G. Barbour, Myths, Models and Paradigms: A Comparative Study in Science and Religion (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1976).

3. Commentators with a more classicist worldview explain the rationale for this method by suggesting how it is an easy method to use after the directee is tired out at the end of a full day of prayer. Their comments refer to the Exercises according to notation [20] in which four one-hour prayer exercises come before the daily Application of Senses suggested for the latter part of the day. Since, in a classicist worldview, these four prayer exercises were considered to be primarily 'discursive,' this would make sense. Why would their conclusion be a valid one for them?

However, in the light of a developmental worldview and with a more profound understanding of the medieval worldview, we have rediscovered and appreciated the importance of the imagination in its intimate connection with memory, intuition and reason. Consult the closing pages of Chapter 23 of this manual.

4. This phrase was created by John English, S.J., in Choosing Life: Significance of Personal History in Decision-Making (New York: Paulist Press, 1978).

5. Consult endnote1 page 1 of this manual. The ISECP group (Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for the Corporate Person) contributed a great deal to the development of this concept. The ISECP group called this concept "Graced History." Its manual, Focusing Group Energies, Volume 1: Structured Resources for Group Development (Scranton: University of Scranton, 1992). In it participants are asked to pray over their own "Personal Graced History" and, then, by making use of the group's "History Line," to pray over its "Communal Graced History."

6. For me, this term means the same thing as the term or phrase, "communal spirituality," which is being introduced into the working vocabularies of spiritual directors by John English, S.J., Spiritual Freedom (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1995), p.275ff. The difficulty with using "communal" by itself as an adjective describing spirituality is that communal connotes any interpersonal faith-sharing group or a religious group that lives together as in a monastery or a village such as an Amish settlement. For me, the adjective "societal" in association with the adjective "communal" draws our attention to a spirituality that also includes the social justice, political, and systemic aspects. The use of the adjective "communal," without another adjective, can lead to much confusion in our psychologically literate culture.

7. Consult endnote 34 in George E. Ganss, S.J., The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and Commentary (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992). Ganss translates Ignatius' Spanish as: "A composition, by imagining the place...." This is quite close to Mullan's translation used in this glossary.

Other translations, such as Puhl's, which render the Composition as "a mental representation of the place," may contribute to the continuation of a classicist interpretation. In the classicist worldview, the context for many commentators prior to 1960s, the Composition was presented as a separate step in which a directee had first to imagine the place like a stage on which the play was to be enacted. This led to the teaching that a directee was to imagine first the place and then, while still imagining the place, continue with the rest of the prayer exercise -- and all this was to keep the mind from being distracted. I have never met anyone who was capable of doing such a mental gymnastic. Have you? Why would such a teaching be consistent with the classicist worldview?

8. "Immediately" here means "without mediation" -- "without any previous sense or knowledge of any object through which such Consolation would come, through one's acts of understanding and will" [330] or through some outside influence that could explain the experience.

9. John J. English, S.J., "Mysterious Joy of the Poor and the Complex Causes of Consolation," Review of Ignatian Spirituality [CIS], no. 85 (Rome: 1997), pp.74-75.

10. So when you read traditional works on meditation that go back to the 16th century, do not interpret them with a Cartesian Mind.

11. The Spiritual Exercises, according the notation-20 closed retreat setting proper, begin with the First Exercise of the First Week.

12. Note the kind of temptations which Ignatius considers "gross and open." They are not the same as those associated with notation [314].

13. In the mid-1980s, some directors of the Exercises began to speak of directees going through part of the Exercises in an 'identity mode' and receiving the graces of the Exercises in an 'identity mode.'

14. Adolphe Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life: a Treatise on Ascetical and Mystical Theology (Paris: Desclee & Co., 1930), p.454.

15. I am grateful to Mark Muldoon, Ph.D., for many conversations around how our powers of imagination are enmeshed with our powers of intellect.

16. Intuition is the function by which we perceive things as a whole rather than in parts. Intuition is the sense or hunch we have about a situation or some partial data even before we have the complete data for the judgment. Jesus used intuitive logic when he gave the parable of the sower and when he explained it.

17. Some myths are quite conscious. We name them ideologies. When a personal ideology no longer has positive power over us, it is time to renew our personal myths.

18. William A. Barry, S.J., and William J. Connolly, S.J., The Practice of Spiritual Direction (New York: The Seabury Press, 1982).

19. The analogy that Ignatius employs for the Election process is that of choosing a major state of life or "calling" which involves a permanent commitment -- an unchangeable state of life.

20. Why would it be inconceivable for Ignatius to write the Exercises text from the viewpoint of the First Time [175] or the Third Time?