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Catholic Dictionary




Any set program of religious duties, motably the prayers, meditations, and spiritual reading required of persons following a distinctive rule of life. Also the period of silience and prayerful reflection practiced annually (or more often) in a retreat. Particularly the Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius Loyola, drawn yp as a method of arriving at the amendemtn of one's life and resolving on a determined way of holiness. The Exercises of St. Ignatius were first composed by him in a cave at Manresa, in Spain, after his conversion. They have been recommended by successive popes as a most effective program of spiritual renewal for priests, religious, and the laity. their underlying principle is their opening statement that "Man was created to praise, reverence and serve our Creator and Lord, and by this means to save his soul." Given this basic purpose of human existence, the believer is told how to reach his or her destiny by overcoming sinful tendencies and imitating Christ in carrying the Cross on earth in order to be glorified with Christ in the life to come.