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  • Gregory Vigliotta

Guidelines for An Ignatian Retreat Day

Introduction to Ignatian Retreats in Daily Life

In Annotation #18 of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius acknowledges that the Spiritual Exercises, as they are written, must be adapted for the person who is to engage in them. This includes taking into account one's age, education, talents, responsibilities to family, community and professional obligations.

St. Ignatius understood that progress in the Spiritual Exercises would be greater for those who were able to disengage totally from worldly cares, however, he understood this level of disengagement would not be possible for everyone. Therefore he recommends a half an hour to an hour of prayer each day, weekly reception of the Sacrament of Confession and Holy Eucharist and daily examination of conscience.

Here are Guidelines for the Journey from of St. Ignatius help to develop a rhythm and pace for prayer which can be adjusted as the retreat goes on


Ignatian Retreat Daily Prayer Routine

Your Retreat - The Night Before Preparations

In preparing for tomorrow’s prayer period: read the next day's meditations for understanding; and "after retiring, just before falling asleep, for the space of a Hail Mary, I will think of the hour when I have to rise, what I am rising, and briefly sum up the exercise I have to go through" (SE 73*). Read the next day's gospel selections for understanding. If there is more than one reading for the day, consider the one that resonates with you.

Your Retreat Mornings

St. Ignatius offers us a framework as we Begin a Prayer Period and enter into the Mysteries for a personal encounter and discovery of the Word of God.

Each morning consists of four sections:

  • Preparatory ( Offering prayer and a Petitionary prayer)

  • The Meditation ( Praying with the Scripture or Exercise)

  • Close ( Ending with an informal and formal prayer)

  • Reflection (Making notes in your journal).

1. Preparatory Prayers: Read Ignatian Prayer of Preparation from St. Ignatius.

2. Meditation: Read slowly the Scripture or Exercises given, and pray attentively using all of your faculties—faith, feelings, your interior senses, imagination, and recall—as you pray with each section. Here is a guide for Ways of Praying with Scripture and using your Imagination from the Catholic tradition when entering into the mediation.

3. Close of the Prayer: Close your prayer time with your own words (Colloquy), then a vocal formal prayer (Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be)

4. Reflection and Review : At the end of each prayer period, note down your experiences and ask yourself: What were the insights, feelings, thoughts, images, and memories that came up in me? Savor the graces.  Review of a Prayer Period is a helpful exercise for greater awareness of the graces received in a prayer period and for preparing to meet with your spiritual director.

Your Retreat Day Time - Recalling

During the day, let your heart settle within the morning's contemplation

Your Retreat Evenings - Examen, Journaling

  1. Pray The Examen. Consider the graces from your Morning Prayer time and Day time recalling.

  2. Journaling is recommended after your review in the morning or after your Examen in the evening.

  3. Read the next day's Scriptures or Exercise for understanding.


Note: A Recommendation for Accompaniment

Ignatian Retreats are designed for those with experience in the ascetical ways of prayer as a self-directed retreat. Due to the intensity of reflecting upon these scriptures and mediations for walking with Jesus and contemplating all the graces He bestows, we recommend (especially if you are new to imaginative prayer) that you consider connecting with your spiritual director or contact us here to accompany you along the way.

For more information or to register for Spiritual Direction


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