The Second Week 

Of The 

Spiritual Exercises

          From this point onward, I depart from the format of a running commentary that I used in the preceding chapters. By the time directees reach this point on their Exercises journey, they have begun to move far more uniquely than either in the preliminary or in the latter phases of the Exercises. The following image will help to explain this. 

        When people enter some of the more interesting national parks of North America, they approach through gates leading to an initial area with a communication centre welcoming them to the park. Larger parks may have a central pavilion here to help visitors become familiar with the park. Information is available about parking areas, picnic areas, washrooms, telephones, hiking paths and other features. 

         For people who want to hike, several unique paths are usually laid out. Some paths are straightforward and leisurely. Other paths wind around a variety of landforms. Other paths present greater challenges -- close to high banks of a river or through a densely wooded area. Some paths might lead through inviting caverns. 

         In some parks, past a mid-point along the way, these paths converge on some interesting feature. After this point, the paths may become fewer in number leading away as they circle around the park and end quite close to the point where the paths initially began. By analogy, the Exercises journey is like a journey through such a national park. 

        The Second Week is like a section of the park with different paths with their special features corresponding to the unique needs of the hikers. As the Second Week ends and moves into the Third and Fourth Weeks, the Exercises become like the last portion of our park. The exercise, Contemplation To Gain Love, is like the return to a point close to the entrance. 

        Up until now, each chapter with its practical comments coincided with one prayer unit. From this point, I continue the practical comments but with a different format. Each chapter now deals with a cluster of prayer units indicated in the chapter heading. Then at those points in the commentary that a new prayer unit is likely to fit, I indicate the new unit and its general content in a box. 

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