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  • Gregory Vigliotta

Praying with our Blessed History



Praying with one's Blessed History is within the pre-initial days of the Spiritual Exercises called the Disposition Days, and it can also be done as a self-directed retreat.


HOW TO BEGIN

1. Make a list of 10-12 formative experiences in your life (either positive and/or negative). From those experiences on your list take each one into prayer. Set aside a quiet time about an hour for each section. This exercise can be repeated for each formative moment completing it over several prayer periods days.


Repetition maybe helpful, as well as jotting down notes to review later.


2. Select one formative experience and take it to prayer


3. Beginning the Prayer Period

The Preparatory period of prayer is a time for recollection of your interior and exterior - to dispose ourselves rightly towards God. It is done with an offertory preparatory and a petition of asking for grace for what we want and desire from the Lord based upon each meditation. Each of these prayers lasting about a minute.


Offertory Prayer

At the beginning of each prayer period, offer yourself to the Lord. Pray this by St. Ignatius “Take and Receive”


Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,

my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,

all that I have and possess.

Thou hast given all to me.

To Thee, O Lord, I return it.

All is Thine; dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.

Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this, is sufficient for me.

Amen


Preparatory Prayer

“The preparatory prayer is to ask, God Our Lord for the grace is that all my intentions (wants and desires), actions, and operations (interior mental activities), maybe order purely to the service in praise of the Divine Majesty” (SE 46).*


In your own words of committment to the Lord __________________________________________________________________________________



Petitionary Prayer

At the beginning each prayer period, after offering yourself to the Lord you may pray this by t. Anselm of Canterbury “Teach Me To Seek You.”


"Teach me to seek you,

And reveal yourself to me as I seek;

For unless you instruct me, I cannot seek you,

And unless I you reveal yourself to me, I cannot find you.

Let me seek you in desiring you; let me desire you in seeking you

let me find you in loving you; Let me love you in finding you."

Or

I pray for the following graces: to be more aware of how God loves and has loved me; how He is and was near; to trust in God's personal care for me now and always.

Or

Consider writing your own Petitonary prayer with your desires

­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________________________




5. Meditation

Read slowly Psalm 139 ( see below) and pray attentively using all of your faculties - faith and feelings - your interior senses, imagination, recall – as you pray with each section.


Ask God to show you where He was in those formative experiences.


5. Close with a Prayer

At the end of the prayer period, close with a Colloquy or a formal prayer - Our Father, Hali Mary and/or Glory Be.






Psalm 139

LORD, you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; a you understand my thoughts from afar. You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar. Even before a word is on my tongue, LORD, you know it all. Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, far too lofty for me to reach. Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, there you are. If I take the wings of dawn and dwell beyond the sea, Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast. If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one. You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth.* Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down;f my days were shaped, before one came to be. How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands; when I complete them, still you are with me.



*(SE#) All quotes are taken from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: based on Studies in the Language of the Autograph by Louis, J. Puhl. SJ


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