—without exception —is in need of conversion, and one of the most valuable means for conversion (literally, a "turning around") in our lives is the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. One of the apostolates of the priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (aka, "the IVE") is the preaching of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. We preach and direct these retreats not only for the men and women of our Religious Family, but also for all those laymen and women who desire to experience them.
It is very easy in the modern world to lose track of what really matters in life, and to forget why we were created. Many people have spent their lives trying to achieve worldly success, only to find out that they have wasted their time chasing after worthless things. As Jesus said (Mark 8:36), "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?"
The goal of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises is refocus our lives on what is most important, first by correcting our sinful inclinations, and then by pointing us toward the ultimate goal of our lives, which is the glory and praise and service of God, our Creator and Redeemer. Therefore, St. Ignatius' four-fold plan for the Spiritual Exercises is simple:
- To reform what is deformed (in the soul).
- To conform (to Christ) what is reformed.
- To confirm what is conformed.
To transform what is confirmed.
Brick-and-Mortar Ignatian Retreats
St. Ignatius designed the Spiritual Exercises to be done in 30 days. However, a retreat of this length is usually only possible for priests and religious. Because of that fact, from the very beginning St. Ignatius adapted the retreat so that people in the world could also experience the Exercises. The most common length for Spiritual Exercises retreats is a weekend, but we also sometimes offer 5-day and even 30-day retreats. Click on the link to the left that says "Calendar of Spiritual Exercises Retreats" for more info about upcoming retreat dates and locations.
Online Ignatian Retreats
It is difficult to find a normal Spiritual Exercises retreat that is close enough to home to be affordable and scheduled for a time that fits into the requirements of daily life. In fact, even many retreats that are billed as "Spiritual Exercises" have nothing to do with the true spirit and method envisioned by St. Ignatius, and many are very expensive. Therefore, the fact is that many people who would like to do the Spiritual Exercises are unable to do so, and many of the retreats that are available are not truly "Ignatian."
In keeping with the flexibility that St. Ignatius himself always allowed in preaching the Spiritual Exercises, and in recognition of the enormous opportunities presented by modern technology, the priests of the Institute of the Incarnate Word are also in the process of preparing to offer online Spiritual Exercises retreats. To find out more about the possibility of doing a Spiritual Exercises retreat online, click on the link to the left that says "Spiritual Exercises Retreats:ONLINE."