Ignatian Retreat - Evaluation Questions

This Ignatian Adventure has been the greatest thing about the last three months. It is not part of the Renovaré Institute, but the Prayer of Examen is (we read A Simple Life-Changing Prayer by Manny), and it led me to do this retreat. 

Here is a summary of what the Spiritual Exercises are all about:

1. Encounter the living God and God’s presence in creation, their personal life stories and current life circumstances;

2. Better discern their deepest desires to understand God’s call and presence in their lives and in the world; and

3. Become Contemplatives in Action; experiencing and grasping more deeply the Ignatian vision of Finding God in All Things.

I felt I needed to let God lead me through it rather than go through the predetermined format of the liturgical year. (I also wanted it to line up with what our Kingdom Community is meditating on throughout the week.) Most SEEL (Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life) are formatted around our busy lives. One book I have says that it is about 30-45 minutes a day of focused prayer time; and because I have been given the sleepless elite gene, I decided to steward it well by giving my mornings to more extended times of prayer through these exercises. So, I focused on the grace for the week by listening to the great online retreat recordings that I had loaded on to my iPhone and played through my Echo every morning as I made my tea. 

Ignatius was big on flexibility. There is the 30 day retreat (20th Annotation) where one goes to a retreat center and goes through all the exercises in that period of time. This is very expensive ($4195), and the closest one for me is 10 hours away in Los Altos, California. I wish I could do it someday though, but the one in 2018 is while we are in France.

There are many nine-month programs (19th Annotation according to Ignatius). My friend is in one in Portland where she has assignments each day for 30 minutes and then goes to a retreat center one Saturday morning a month. She also meets with a spiritual director ($445 but not sure if it includes the spiritual director meeting). 

I evaluated much of this with my spiritual director, and it was so great. She is trained in leading someone through the Spiritual Exercises, and I love her insights.

One question from the reflection week of the retreat was where I wanted to focus in this freewrite:

Did I experience conflicts, difficult times, differently because of how I placed them in the context of being with and in Jesus during this retreat?

Absolutely, positively YES! I can honestly say that this was the BEST thing about the retreat for me. I found myself bringing Jesus into these difficulties in real time. 

Often, when things are difficult, I pretty quickly turn to the Lord after the conflict, but during the retreat I found myself sensing his presence as it occurred. He gave me such grace to handle three difficult situations between December 23 and January 14 as they were occurring. It was really cool. So, I am grateful for the real time engagement with Jesus during it, and all three of them ended up with such peace and resolve. Two involved me engaging head on and getting apologies that I did not expect, but the third, I felt God saying to let it go and move on and let George handle things from here on out, and we got an apology for that one too! So, amazing! 

So, I am sold on these exercises for everyone! I heartily recommend it. I don't know if I would ever do the 30 day retreat because I don't think I could be away from George for all that time! Plus, it is very expensive, but maybe I could do an abbreviated 8 day one or something like that. 

Well, I am off to do other things. 


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