It is impossible to exaggerate the influence of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
since its completion in 1535. In these exercises, as the editor writes, "St. Ignatius' personal insights into ascetical theology found their clearest expression; in them, too, each new generation of Jesuits is formed according to the spirit of St. Ignatius." A man of great practical genius, Ignatius created the book as the basis for retreats given to priests, lay people, and monastics. Organized according to five major themes (Creation, Mankind, The Kingdom of God, Christ, and the Trinity), the exercises are divided into four "weeks" of meditations--although these weeks may last a few days or a few months. The overall goal is to lead the retreatant through a series of meditations on the life of Christ, beginning with reflections on the disorder and chaos of one's own life and progressing to a series of meditations on Christ's life, inviting the retreatant to a knowledge and love of Christ. The third week of exercises focuses on the crucifixion, and the fourth and final week develops meditations on the resurrection, leading ultimately to "the assimilation of the soul to God... so that one lives one's life exclusively for God in joyous service."
This is not so much a book to be read as a path to be entered. Still used around the world (and not just by Jesuits), it remains one of the clearest roads to a deeper spiritual life. --Doug Thorpe
From the Publisher
Written in 1533, this masterpiece by St. Ignatius has long been recognized as a brilliant and inspired guide to the development of a deeper spirituality.