In 1990 we started worshipping at the Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola and I learned about him then in a general way. I was a catechist and so probably looked him up to teach my class about our parish’s namesake. Years passed and I learned little bits and pieces more about him. But around 2002 the Spiritual Exercises kept popping up around me. I did some research and learned about them and longed for a way to do them. But there didn’t seem to be a place or way to do them while living at home and taking care of my family. But it was always there, in the back of my mind. And I kept learning more about Ignatius and his exercises. Then, a friend talked to me about having done a version of the Spiritual Exercises and would I like to get together with her and a few other people to do them. Of course, I said yes and in 2005 did them with a small group of friends. Life-changing. And I’m not exaggerating. We used For the Greater Glory of God by Manuel Ruiz Jurado, S.J. and while I’ve read and used others it remains my favorite. I think it’s like a first love thing. This meeting of Ignatius has set me on a path to become a spiritual director. Why? Because we all can use a companion on our journey! I want everyone to meet him. And see how his spiritual exercises help you grow closer to God and more into the person he created you to be. Ignatius is also practical. He knew lay people could not go off alone for a month to pray the exercises. So he created the 19th Annotation to use the exercises in a different format, over a longer period of time. The book, Journey with Jesus by Larry Warner, lays it out that way. Another way I’ve prayed the Exercises is over a weekend, using Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Fr. Michael Gaitley. The Inner Chapel by Becky Eldridge gives you a great introduction to praying the Ignatian way. An author and speaker who has written many books about Ignatian Spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises is Fr. Timothy Gallagher. You can’t go wrong with any of his books or listen to his podcasts on the topic. If your spiritual life needs a boost or you want to go deeper, drawing closer to God, pick up one of these books, read and pray with them – you will grow. And if you have any questions, ask me – I’m always happy to help. This post is part of a month-long celebration of all things St. Ignatius leading up to his feast day on July 31. For more about this celebration, click on the image below.