Step 3:  The Principle of Freedom 

 

We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some prayer:

Opening Prayer:

We place ourselves in the presence of God and pray that everything we do would serve the good for us and for all.

Asking what we want:

In this step we ask the grace to trust God’s provident love and in this trust find freedom for fulfilling our vocation.

 

Orientation and meditation:

“TO DISCOVER THE PROPER USE OF EVERYTHING WE SHOULD FIND FREEDOM IN OUR RELATIONS TO EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE, INSOFAR AS NOT BEING BOUND BY SOME OBLIGATION AND ALLOWED TO CHOOSE. SOME EXAMPLES REGARDING THINGS TOWARD WE SHOULD ATTAIN FREEDOM ARE HEALTH OR SICKNES, WEALTH OR POVERTY, SUCCESS OR FAILURE, LONG OR SHORT LIFE. THESE ARE THE SAME TIME THE POINTS WHERE THE HUMAN PERSON TENDS TO HAVE PREFIXED DESIRES*. WE NEED TO REALIZE THAT EVERYTHING HAS THE POTENTIAL OF BRINGING MEANING AND FULFILLMENT IN OUR LIFE.

OUR ONLY STRONG DESIRE AND FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE SHOULD BE TO PREFER ALWAYS WHAT WE UNDERSTAND AFTER PROPER DISCERNMENT GUIDED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AS MORE APPROPRIATE FOR OUR VOCATION IN OUR CONCRETE PERSONAL AND SOCIETAL SITUATION, AND SO FIND OUR WAY TOWARD THE FULNESS OF LIFE” **

In this “principle of freedom” which stands at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises and summarizes its entire program “Ignatius basically articulates the view that the Christian should seek to cultivate an inner spirit of faith in the divine providence which is so deep and profound that her or she simply says to the Lord: “God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will” (Heb 10:7)” ***

After this preparation we read one of the Scripture passages given below. Following the reading we spend a short time to reflect on it. In this way our emerging thoughts and feeling will be a response to the Word of God just read. Finally we jot some points in our notebook concerning our experiences and insights while meditating on the material of this step.  Couples can read it aloud to each other and after the reflection then share as companions on the road the thoughts and feelings emerged in each and take notes. If the companions desire, they can spend in silent meditation further 15-20 minutes. To each of the readings we dedicate one session at least, always beginning with the same prayers, reading, reflection, sharing and ending with the final prayers. In this way the Third Step will occupy at least five meetings or sessions. Usually we do one session a day but it can vary according to what the companions feel like appropriate.

Scripture Passages:

1.   Matthew 6:26-34

2.   Jeremiah 29:11-14

3.   Romans 8:28-39

4.   Psalms 23

5.   Psalms 104 (this might be adapted for a contemplation of the beauty of nature outdoors)

 

Final Prayers:

We spend some time speaking with God about our experiences in this session and thank him for the graces received. Close with an Our Father...

 

Notes:

* Karl Rahner sees in these examples the basic drives to live, to possess, to be somebody and to exist, “the points in which man seeks to assert himself in the different dimensions of his human existence”. See in Karl Rahner, Spiritual Exercises, (New York: Herder and Herder, 1965) p. 27.

 

** From the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, “Principle and Foundation”  [23], second part, our translation (see “First Phase: Reforming” in the Manual).

*** Tyrrell, “Christotherapy II,” p. 207.