Step 17: Jesus Teaches the Way - Arriving to a Decision (cont.)


Each prayer session will be structured as it follows:

The following time will be as it is presented in the “Orientation and introduction” below.

We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some prayer. After the opening prayer and asking the grace we want to receive in this step then read one of the given Scripture stories then we spend some time with silent prayer. At the end we jot down a diary about the experience of this meditation and share with our companion about it. Finish always with a short prayer. Each session should take at least half an hour and not more than one and the half hour. We remain with the material as long as we feel that it is fruitful in insights and feelings and add more prayer sessions to prolong the time spent with this step, which can take usually one or two weeks if we do it in our daily life with one prayer session a day.

Don’t forget to do the "Daily Examination of Consciousness"

The practice of Examination will be a great help that you need to use during this retreat.


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:

We continue with the contemplations on the life of Jesus and as for all such Ignatian contemplations “it will be to ask for an intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely” [104].

Orientation and meditation:

“The contemplations of the events assigned to these periods follow a logical progress from the following the call of Jesus through the demands of his way and the risks involved to the consequences as we arrive to the events leading to the Passion. The Second Phase might be lengthened or shortened depending on the judgment of the companions. They need to evaluate the progress of the Exercises sometimes after the Seventh Period focusing on the question how long they desire to continue with the contemplations and which to choose as better suited for them. For lengthening the Phase use the events described in the “The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus Christ” up to [288] {in Appendix B}. Some might decide to omit some of the assigned contemplations, but in any case the best event to end this Phase is “Palm Sunday” in [288] as leading toward the contemplation of the Passion in the Third Phase. The companions will see when they feel ready to enter the Third Phase, depending also how the decision-making process will take shape. We will discuss how to conclude the Second Phase at the end of the chapter “Arriving to a Decision” [169-189]…

“The structure of the upcoming periods will be the following. The contemplations need to be done twice followed by two repetitions and the “application of the senses” (see in [121] and [65-71]). So each period will have five prayer sessions of contemplation and as usual, the repetitions serve to return to that points only that touched us and let emerge significant elements. For this time in the Exercises a topic of decision becomes somewhat clear on which the companions will naturally focus. To aid further this process of conforming and decision there are also reflections to read during the time and the companions need to arrange this material alongside the supporting basis of contemplations…. That means that between the prayer sessions dedicated to contemplation the companions need to return time to time to these reflections and think them over, share and jot down the insights. “ (Excerpts from the Manual)


For this and the following Steps up to the end of the Second Phase the reflection material is in the chapter "Arriving to a Decision" of the Manual


(Of course, it is always possible to return also now from time to time on the meditation on the "Three Degrees of the Love of God", and if the companions desire the third degree they continue to ask for it in the final threefold prayer)


Scripture passages:

Read the chapters 5-6-7 in the Gospel of Matthew imagining Jesus delivering this teaching to the crowds you present among them; particularly the following excerpts

1.   Mt 5:1-11

2.   Mt 5:21-26.38-42.43-48

3.   Mt 6:3-5.19-21.24

4.   Mt 6:5-15

5.   Mt 6-25-34

6.   Mt 7:1-5.7-11

7.   Mt 7:15-20.21-23


Final Prayers:

Each prayer session needs to be finished with the threefold prayer to accept the way of Christ as in the “Three Types” [156] and in the “Two Standards” [147], or the prayer of “paradoxical intention” described in [157].