Reflections and Biblical Readings
to Follow the Weeks of the Spiritual Exercises

Resources concerning reflection and biblical readings that align with the Spiritual Exercises.

Compiled by George Traub, S.J.
Designed to follow the academic calendar with scheduled breaks.

Fall Semester:


Week 1
I ask that I may be able to find God’s presence and God’s love for me in the people and events of my life.   
"You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body, and I praise you because of  the wonderful way you created me." - Psalm 139:13-14
Was I surprised by anything I read or prayed or felt or experienced this week?

Week 2
I ask to find and experience God’s presence and care and love for me in a part of my life I never looked before, or somewhere I looked before and now see in a new light.      
“You created every part of me, knitting me in my mother’s womb.
For such handiwork, I praise you. Awesome this great wonder!
I see it so clearly!” -
Psalm 139:13-14
What was the strongest realization that came to me this week?

Week 3/4 
I ask to keep in focus my purpose in life: to praise God my creator and thank God—especially by being of service to others. I ask to be inspired by people who are models of freedom and balance for me.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." - Genesis 1:1
Aware of how Ignatius words the purpose of life, how do I word it for myself?
Have I learned anything this week that I want to hold on to?

          GETTING FREE

Week 5
I ask that I may be able to look evil in the face—the magnitude of the “sin of the world”— and yet come to appreciate the loving mercy of God, more powerful than any evil, toward us all. 
"Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven." - Eucharistic Prayer
Has it really dawned on me that God's love and mercy is more wonderful and powerful than all the evil of the world?

Week 6/7
I ask to profoundly know my own shortcomings so that I may experience the depth of God’s love for me personally.
I ask to recognize the patterns of my shortcomings, how my shortcomings happen in me, more deeply to understand God’s love and desires for me.
"Christ died for us at a time when we were helpless and sinful. No one is really willing to die for an honest person, though someone might be willing to die for a truly good person. But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful." - Romans 5:6-8
Do I recognize God's forgiveness for my shortcomings?

Pause: Fall Break
I ask for whatever grace the Spirit leads me to.
Where am I now? Who is God for me now? Who am I now?

Week 8  
I ask that I may let God’s merciful forgiveness fill my days. 
"[This loved one of mine] was lost and has now been found. And they began to celebrate." - Luke 15:24
How do I want to respond to the one who has loved me so much? Do I have a "ritual," a gesture to express to God or Jesus what I feel?

Week 9  
I ask to feel God’s healing love for me—to experience at least the beginning of the gift of freedom from any destructive patterns. 
"Don’t be afraid. I have rescued you. I have called you by name; now you belong to me. To me, you are very dear, and I love you. I promised to save you, and I kept my promise. I am God now and forever. No one can snatch you from me or stand in my way." - Isaiah 43:1, 4, 12, 13
What do I want to hold on to from the week?


Week 10/11
I ask to know and feel Love’s Invitation (from Jesus) to serve. I ask to respond to the call with a generous heart. 
"The Lord then stood beside Samuel and called out as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!  ‘I’m listening,’ Samuel answered. ‘What do you want me to do?’" - 1 Samuel 3:10
Repeat and ponder the words "love's invitation." How does the call feel in my heart?

Week 12
‘Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more  clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly—day by day.’ (From Godspell 
"Sing silently or out loud throughout the week God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die." -John 3:16
How can I see thee more clearly? Love thee more clearly? Follow thee more clearly?

Week 13/14
I ask to appreciate the Hebrew faith tradition that gave Jesus such confidence in his mission (also to experience my own longing).  I ask to be open, humble, trusting in my life. 
"Don’t be afraid. I have rescued you. I have called you by name; now you belong to me. When you cross deep rivers, I will be with you, and you won’t drown. When you walk through fire, you won’t be burned or scorched by the flames. To me, you are very dear, and I love you" - Isaiah 43:1-2, 4
What were the dominant feelings I had while reviewing my life?

Week 15  
I ask to be present at Jesus’ birth and to understand more deeply what it means for all of us human beings and so for me. 
"So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet has said, 'A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,' which means 'God is with us.'” - Matthew 1:22
How is God with us today? When have I been awestruck?

Pause: Thanksgiving Break
I ask for whatever grace the Spirit leads me to.
Where am I now? Who is God for me now? Who am I now?

Week 16  
Sing or hum or say the Godspell  lyrics again this week: “Oh, dear Lord, three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly— day by day.” 
"The child Jesus grew. He became strong and wise, and God blessed him." - Luke 2:40
In view of Jesus' early life as I contemplated it, who is he for me now?


Week 17 
I ask for knowledge of the deceits of the “Enemy” and of effective counter measures to use against him—and I ask for knowledge of the true and good life in Jesus and grace to follow his way. 
"God bless those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven." - Matthew 5:3
What do I want to hold on to from the week?

Long Pause: Winter Break
I ask to remember graces of the past 13 weeks and to say “Thank you’
Ignatian repetition invites us to return to "places" where we have found "fruit." Where have I found fruit?

Spring Semester:

Week 18
I ask that I may want only what will be of greater service to God and my neighbor.  In short, I ask to be truly free and open. 
"All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him to life. I want to suffer and die as he did, so that somehow I also may be raised to life." - Philippians 3:10-11
Was I surprised by anything I read or prayed or felt or experienced this week?

Week 19
I ask to know Jesus more intimately, love him more ardently, and follow him more closely or I ask to hear God say to me: “You are my daughter/son, my beloved; I take delight in you.”
“This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” - Matthew 3:17
How do I experience God's delight?

Week 20
I ask Jesus, who was tempted like me, for the grace not to try to escape from the limitations of my human condition but rather, like him, to live it with faith and trust in God.
"After the devil had finished testing Jesus in every way possible, he left him for a while." - Luke 4:13
Ponder our own human condition; we tend to fear not having enough and this is the root of our human shortcomings --- rather than to trust in God and God's care for us. What are some of the ways you try to escape the limited human condition?


Week 21
I ask Jesus for the grace to be drawn ever closer to him, following him in service to our neighbor and in fostering “God’s Reign” in our broken world. 
"Then he chose twelve to be his apostles, so that they could be with him." - Mark  3:14
How did your call to be with a life-partner grow and develop or how did you come to an [academic] vocation.

Week 22
I ask to live my life as a response to Jesus’ message. 
"God blesses those people who depend only on him.  They belong to the kingdom of heaven!" - Matthew 5:3
Who is Jesus for me at this point in my life? Who am I for him?

Week 23
I ask to know Jesus more intimately as the healer with understanding and love.
"He healed our diseases and made us well." - Matthew 8:17
Who throughout my day seems diseased or paralyzed or dysfunctional or blind or outcast by others? What external disorder or inner infection nees penetrating, embracing love? How can I be a "healer"? 


Week 24/25

I ask for the grace to live and speak the truth to whomever. 
"A firm resolve never to profit from, or allow ourselves to be suborned by, positions of power deriving from privilege, for to do so, even passively, is equivalent to active oppression. To be drugged by the comforts of privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice." - Pedro Arrupe, S.J.
What are the injustices around me?

Pause:  Spring Break
I ask for whatever grace the Spirit leads me to.
Where am I now? Who is God for me now? Who am I now? 

Week 26 
I ask Jesus for the grace to have my eyes opened—to see who he is and be able to follow him “to Jerusalem.” I ask to see him in the marginal and broken people of today.
"If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself.  You must take up your cross and follow me.  If you want to save your life, you will destroy it.  Bu t if you give up your life for me and for the good news, you will save it.  What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself?  What could you give to get back your soul?" - Mark 8:34-37
What greatness do you seek? What little ones do you embrace? What happens inside of you at this point in our retreat when Jesus says "your eyes are healed because of your faith?"

Week 27
I ask to experience Jesus’ love for me as I contemplate the Last Supper.
"Do you understand what I have done? You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am. And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other." - John 13:12-14
Put yourself imaginatively into the Last Supper scene--both Jesus' gift of himself in the meal of bread and wine and in his washing his friends' feet--two sides of the same coin. Hear him say; Do this in memory of me. What do you experience?

Week 28/29
I ask, through imaginative contemplation, to feel my way through Jesus’ suffering.
"He suffered and endured great pain for us,..." - Isaiah 53:4
What are my current pains and worries? 

Week 30/31/32
I ask “to rejoice and be intensely glad because of the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord” (Sp. Exs. #221). 
“Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death.”  - Luke 24:6
What moments in my life have I experienced a resurrection?

Pause:  Easter Break
I ask “to rejoice and be intensely glad because of the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord.”
At various places in the book of the Exercises Ignatius has a reminder that it is not a lot of knowledge ("many things") that is so important but rather plumbing the depth of a few things. We can do this by returning to what we have already known and experienced--especially where we have been moved by it in any way--and going "deeper." Was there a scripture passage that especially touched me over the past weeks?

Week 33
I ask to be filled with a deep sense of the gifts I have received, and so overflowing with gratitude. 
"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." - The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, No.234
What are the gifts that I have received?

Week 34
I ask the “Good and Holy Spirit” to guide me in choosing how I will live my life into the future—in Jesus.
"God is the one who began this good work in you, and I am certain that he won’t stop before it is complete on the day that Christ Jesus returns. We must keep going in the direction that we are now headed." - Philippians 1:6, 3:16
Where am I headed?

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