We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some 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 of understanding our sins and destructive tendencies, to see realistically the deformities in our personality and we need to ask a “growing and intense sorrow and tears” (cf. Spiritual Exercises ) because of these. We need to experience an intense sorrow, a real compunction of heart in order to overcome our repressions and a pharisaical attitude toward sin.
Orientation and meditation:
«Now with the help of the Holy Spirit we recall memories from our life, sins, and moments of brokenness, period by period… This review can be made by remembering the places where we lived, the relations and occupations we had. It is a good occasion to reflect on the whole of our life personally and on our common life as companions. We should not deny or hide our weaknesses, as we are alone with God and our companion who know us very well, but in the same time need to avoid any false sense of guilt. We should look at our story in the horizon of God’s love toward us, with a peaceful and quiet look, even if we are sorry for what went wrong in our hands. The companions’ role toward each other now is to give support, encouragement and protection against despair while going through this delicate process; in one word, practice “existential loving”. In Christotherapy “to love a person existentially is to value the gift of unique existence which the person possesses and incarnates” (1). In our view the companions are by the nature of their relationship the best candidates to live this holistic type of love. Their aim should be the same as of the spiritual guide or Christotherapist, which is “to facilitate the occurrence of a diagnostic discernment which hopefully will lead to a decision, reforming and fasting of the mind, heart, and imagination” (2). “Mind-fasting” is the central technique of the Christotherapy together with the complementary “spirit-feasting”. It means an emptying the mind from the thoughts, attitudes and desires discerned as harmful, a letting go of the destructive tendencies by the help of the Holy Spirit and sort of replacing it with authentic, life-giving inspirations and feelings (3). During the First Phase we are beginning to engage in this process and will continue to return to it and practice it throughout the entire Spiritual Exercises and beyond that. Notwithstanding everything we still should hope and trust in God’s unconditional love, even if we don’t know how it is possible to love us unconditionally»(4).
1. Romans 7:13-25
2. Galatians 5:13-26
3. Luke 16:19-31
4. Psalms 51
5. Matthew 25:14-30
6. Job 38:1-42:6
7. Psalms 136 - Continue with your own history of salvation, with the deeds of God in your life who loved and saved you with steadfastness, mercy and fidelity, and repeat for each acclamation “God’s love endure forever”
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...
(1) Tyrrell, “Christotherapy II,” p. 116.
(2) Tyrrell, “Christotherapy II,” p. 151.
(3) See the presentation of the mind-fasting and spirit-feasting in Tyrrell, “Christotherapy I,” p. 73-106 and in “Christotherapy II,” pp.126-128.
(4) See “Second Exercise: our personal salvation history” in the Manual