News from around the Archdiocese of Liverpool



Cath Pic Jubilee Issue-1
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During lockdown last year I took part in an individually directed online retreat via Zoom. The word ‘retreat’ suggests withdrawal, a stepping back from the routines and distractions of daily life.

There is an obvious association with Jesus being led by the Spirit to spend 40 days in the wilderness. Retreats in traditional retreat houses have now resumed. However, when a similar online retreat was offered again this year, I opted to repeat the experience.

The extra hours of prayer required some juggling of my daily routine. Ignatius of Loyola places a premium on ‘finding God in all things’. His spiritual exercises focus on ‘consolation’ and ‘desolation’, requiring the retreatant to identify where the ‘Good Spirit’ and the ‘Bad Spirit’ are at play. This forms the basis of the recommended daily ‘Examen’, and is especially important during a retreat. We review not only our prayer times but also our feelings in the activity in between.

In an Ignatian retreat we use our imagination to bring alive passages of scripture suggested by the director, but also to monitor how we are feeling in the time after prayer. Where is the good spirit at work? Which habitual feelings can I attribute to the bad spirit who seeks to undermine my peace of mind? Once recognised, I can choose between them.

Ignatius himself made provision for a form of the spiritual exercises for lay people whose responsibility to earn a living did not allow them to take time out to do a traditional retreat. It is known as the ‘19th annotation’ (not to be confused with the 19th hole of a golf course). Having now experienced both forms of retreat, I’m inclined to believe that a version of this 19th annotation is just as good, if not more effective, than the Full Monty.

Sunday thoughts

Retreats in traditional retreat houses have now resumed