The First Spiritual Exercises

A Manual for Those Who Give the Exercises

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Format: Paperback

Publication date: August 26, 2013


Designed for those who direct The First Spiritual Exercises or train others to direct them, this manual provides a wealth of practical information on the origins and dynamics of these retreats, providing leaders with the tools they need to become effective guides and trainers.

Hansen distinguishes The First Spiritual Exercises from the two other, better-known ways that the Exercises are made: during a thirty-day solitary retreat or at home over a similar time period. The Manual offers a brief history and description of The First Spiritual Exercises, as well as notes and instructions on the day-by-day structure and content of each of the four retreats. Leaders also receive guidance on the place of the sacraments and of Sunday in the retreats, along with a five-step learning process: pray, learn, guide, converse, and practice.

Features & Benefits

  • Both an introduction to The First Spiritual Exercises for spiritual directors and a guide for those who train new directors.
  • A comprehensive introduction to this innovative way of making the Spiritual Exercises, working from the context of St. Ignatius’s life and practices.
  • A complete tool kit for implementing The First Spiritual Exercises in a retreat center, parish, or any pastoral setting.
  • Practical guidance on every dimension of making or guiding a retreat: spiritual conversation, the use of the Examen, discernment, the role of the sacraments, and journaling.

Product Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 9781594713804

Imprint: Ave Maria Press

  • “A beautiful book and an important one as well.”

    “A beautiful book and an important one as well. Michael Hansen, S.J., an experienced Jesuit retreat director and a talented writer, recovers an often-overlooked way of praying with St. Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. But this is much more than a guide for a fulfilling personal retreat; it is also a compendium of inspiring meditations, useful insights, and practical advice for anyone who seeks a closer relationship with God. In these pages is a wealth of knowledge that I will surely be using in the future—both in counseling others and in my own prayer life.”

    James Martin, S.J.
    Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

  • “A clear, simple, and practical approach to developing your prayer life.”

    “If you are looking for a clear, simple, and practical approach to developing your prayer life in the Ignatian tradition, The First Spiritual Exercises is well worth procuring. One of Ignatius’s most radical and contentious insights was that the Creator engages directly with the heart of the creature. What I particularly like about the exercises in The First Spiritual Exercises is that they invite, stimulate, and give us freedom, if we dare, to dispose ourselves to experience such an encounter.”

    Brendan Kelly, S.J.
    Master of Jesuit Novices

  • “I highly recommend it.”

    “Jesuit Michael Hansen’s The First Spiritual Exercises captures in a helpful way Ignatius’s process of spiritual renewal and makes it an accessible and useful tool for deepening an intimate connection with God today. I highly recommend it.”

    Wilkie Au
    Author and Professor of Theological Studies
    Loyola Marymount University

  • “One of the great books on Ignatian Spirituality.”

    “This is one of the great books on Ignatian Spirituality. It takes people from where Ignatius first found them, in their prayers and devotions, and quickly moves them into formal prayer. I have been using it for four years, and those to whom I have given it marvel at its power to move them into an intimate relationship with God. Michael Hansen is a born teacher, who enables people through the use of imagination to experience and reflect on their experience of God’s love and discover its dynamic in their own selves.”

    Des Purcell, S.J.
    Director of Canisius Centre of Ignatian Spirituality
    Sydney, Australia

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