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The Spiritual Exercises

The Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God. For centuries the Exercises were most commonly given as a “long retreat” of about 30 days in solitude and silence. In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on the Spiritual Exercises as a program for laypeople. The most common way of going through the Exercises now is a “retreat in daily life,” which involves a months long program of daily prayer and meetings with a spiritual director. The Exercises have also been adapted in many other ways to meet the needs of modern people.




Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,

my memory, my understanding,

and my entire will,

All I have and call my own.


You have given all to me.

To you, Lord, I return it.


Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

Give me only your love and your grace,

that is enough for me.


—St. Ignatius of Loyola




May it please the supreme and divine Goodness

to give us all abundant grace

ever to know his most holy will

and perfectly to fulfill it.


—St. Ignatius of Loyola



With great devotion and new depth of feeling,

I hope and beg, O God, that it finally be given to me

to be the servant and minister of Christ the consoler,

the minister of Christ the redeemer,

the minister of Christ the healer,

the liberator, the enricher, the strengthener.

To be able through you to help many-

to console, liberate and give them courage;

to bring them light not only for their spirit

but also for their bodies,

and bring as well other helps to the soul and body

of each and every one of my neighbors.

I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


—Blessed Peter Faber, S.J., from his Memoriale



See, O merciful God, what return

I, your thankless servant, have made

for the innumerable favors

and the wonderful love you have shown me!

What wrongs I have done, what good left undone!

Wash away, I beg you, these faults and stains

with your precious blood, most kind Redeemer,

and make up for my poverty by applying your merits.

Give me the protection I need to amend my life.

I give and surrender myself wholly to you,

and offer you all I possess,

with the prayer that you bestow your grace on me,

so that I may be able to devote and employ

all the thinking power of my mind

and the strength of my body in your holy service,

who are God blessed for ever and ever. Amen.


—St. Peter Canisius, S.J.


The Daily Examination of Conscience

The Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us. The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.

The method presented here is adapted from a technique described by Ignatius Loyola in his Spiritual Exercises. St. Ignatius thought that the Examen was a gift that came directly from God, and that God wanted it to be shared as widely as possible. One of the few rules of prayer that Ignatius made for the Jesuit order was the requirement that Jesuits practice the Examen twice daily—at noon and at the end of the day. It’s a habit that Jesuits, and many other Christians, practice to this day.

This is a version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced.

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.


Ignatian Prayer Online

Many websites offer online experiences of Ignatian prayer. Online prayer opportunities invite you to pray when you are at your computer or to download materials for reflection during your daily commute.

Creighton Online Retreat

A 34-week Ignatian retreat in daily life is offered by the Online Ministries at Creighton University. The retreat can be made individually or in groups. MP3 versions of the retreat are also available to download.

Sacred Space

This very popular website produced by the Jesuits of Ireland and Loyola Press offers daily prayer, reflections, and readings.



Download daily prayers for your MP3 player from this website, produced by the Jesuits in the UK.

3-Minute Retreat

Focus on what is truly important through a daily prayer experience with Scripture, music, and images, offered by Loyola Press.


Other Resources: