I recently completed participating in a very enriching experience of the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola with a group of colleagues and friends here at Loyola Press. The Spiritual Exercises were originally designed for Jesuits to experience over a 30-day retreat. Realizing that most lay folks are unable to arrange for a 30-day retreat, St. Ignatius made an accommodation. In his notes or annotations to the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius included a note—his 19th annotation—about an alternative model for experiencing the Exercises. This model is designed to be experienced in the flow of daily life over a number of weeks that includes commitment to a period of personal prayer each day and a weekly one-on-one meeting with a spiritual director. Over the course of about eight months (usually about 30 weeks), we met as a group each week during our lunch period for input and sharing on the themes of the Exercises.
You can experience the 19th Annotation online through Creighton University or through the help of a book like The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien, SJ.
Is anyone out there offering such an opportunity in a parish setting as a small-group experience? If so, I’d love to hear from you!
Finally, here’s a cute story related to this topic. The folks at Loyola Press were kind enough to present each of the participants of the 19th Annotation with a memento (see picture). Fr. Paul Campbell, SJ, our Publisher, explains that when he placed the order for these, he told the sales rep to make them the same as last year but to change the date. The sales rep then responded, “Should I change it to the 20th Annotation then as well?” There’s nothing like an inside joke for fans of Ignatian spirituality!