Meet weekly or twice a month as we follow the liturgical year with a Prelude and 4 phases /dynamic movements called "Weeks."
Ordinary Time: Prelude & First Week
Advent/Christmas/Ordinary Time/1st part of Lent: Second Week
2nd part of Lent: Third Week
Easter and Easter Season: Fourth Week
The Exercises can begin at any time. Many desire to begin in the Fall to follow the Liturgical Year, or in the Spring about the end of April - after Easter.
18th Annotation follows the dynamics of the full Exercises in an abbreviated format and shorter timeframe - # of Weeks vary.
Dynamic Movements of the 'Weeks'
Disposition Days - The Love and Mercy of God
Beginning before and during Advent, we venture into the “Prelude” and "The First Week” sections with prayers, reflections, and learnings. Note: The Prelude should end right before Thanksgiving.
God is Love - We are His beloved
This adventure begins with a “Prelude” where we encounter, through the scriptures, God who is Love loving.
Focus: In these preparation days, we consider the gifts of God‘s ongoing creation in the world and in us. Here, we pray for a spirit of generous gratitude and awe for those gifts we are to share. We spend time savoring the beauty of God‘s unconditional love for us, who are His beloveds.
"The First Week": God's Mercy
God’s Boundless Love and Compassion for the World
Within the “first Dynamic” of the Spiritual Exercises, we come to encounter the boundless mercy of God as we look into the reality of sin and the history of grace in the world and in our own lives. (It also lines up our holiday of Thanksgiving.)
In this first dynamic, as we recognize God’s boundless generosity and love for us, we naturally face our limited response to His love. Here, God revealed to us, in His gentle way, areas where we need to grow more in love. Here, we become more aware of, recognize, and come to understand those patterns in our lives that are not worthy of us. Here, we look for God’s help to be able to be free from what stands in our way of loving God, others, and even ourselves, and also from everything that would hold us back from freedom in following the call.
Focus: We pray for the grace of embracing ourselves as loved sinners, gazing upon God‘s loving, gentle kindness and mercy, filling us with the grace of a profound sense of gratitude.
"The Second Week": The Life and Mission of Christ
Accompanying Jesus on Mission
Advent up to Lent is a perfect time for this second dynamic. We spend the most time in this Week.
Beginning with contemplating on the incarnation, His birth, His childhood, and His public ministry all related to developing in the discipleship of Christ. The focus and method of prayer is Ignatian contemplation.
During this time, there will be a more in-depth discussion on the discernment of spirits (our responses, moods, and feelings) as in terms of consolation and desolation, along with specific meditations, “the two standards,” “the three metaphors, and “in the kingdom of God.”
Focus: In our desire is to know Jesus more intimately so we can love Jesus Christ more dearly and follow Christ more closely.
"The Third Week": Compassion in the Passion
Identifying and Walking with the Lord in His Passion
Most likely, we will begin this 3rd week towards the latter half of Lent, ending right up to Easter Vigil. We walk with Jesus in his suffering as we would with a friend. It is a brief period yet so profoundly moving. Here, we spend time contemplating His passion and His expression of God‘s faithfulness and love for us in His gift of salvation.
We also look more closely at desolation. (Though this section has less number of calendar weeks in O’Brien’s book and other books, this “Week” is just as dense and intense as the others).
Focus: We come to share in His suffering and compassion, in bringing in our own suffering into His redemptive gift for others.
Calendar: Solidarity through Compassion in His Passion
"The Fourth Week": You are Called
Joy, Joy, and Joy in Consolation in the Risen Christ
Easter Vigil, Easter, and Easter Season is the time of the fourth dynamic; we will experience the joy of the risen Lord in living the life in the Spirit, gathering our graces to live a life of hope through freedom with a generous heart to find God in all things, to love and serve God and others in concrete ways.
Focus: Sharing in the life of gifts of grace poured out upon us by the Holy Spirit.
Calendar: Dynamic Four - Joy in Risen Lord/Living the Life of the Beloved Disciple.