Pope Francis explained the benefits of praying the Spiritual Exercises this way: “Those who pray the Exercises in an authentic way experience the attractionPope Francis and the appeal of God, and return renewed, transformed in ordinary life, in ministry, in daily relationships, bringing with them the fragrance of Christ.” Pope Francis also added that men and women need to meet with God, so their relationship with Him is not just “hear-say.” This is the focus and intent of the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, which began yesterday, September 8, 2016. Welcome to all participants, the intrepid souls who are setting out on the 9-month journey of prayerful discovery and growth.

Twenty-five people attended our first monthly meeting on Saturday! This included seven new English speakers, eleven Spanish speakers (of which at least four are bilingual), and four people who are returning from last year. I’m not even counting our spiritual directors. This is the most people we’ve ever had, and we attribute it to our Jesuit Pope and to God, of course, who is drawing people to himself.

We have two intrepid translators who translate everything into Spanish. Those who don’t speak English follow along easily. We also separate the Spanish speakers during small group discussions, so they can meet in their own language.

Although the room was over-full at times, the morning was filled with prayer, laughter, enlightenment and enthusiasm, too. Participants learned about the life of Ignatius, and how to begin praying the Exercises.

This week, I’ll be searching for more spiritual directors who can speak Spanish, and we will assign spiritual directors to retreatants. Please pray for us. We will need all the help we can get.

Our next group meeting will be October 8, and our 30th year Anniversary Celebration is scheduled for the next day, October 9. Please come help us celebrate 30 years of bringing the Exercises to Southeastern Washington. For more information or to RSVP, please click here.