Week 1 Prayer Exercises
In addition to this week’s prayer materials, there are new Wisdom and Encouragements for Week 1 (pdf). You can also View E&W for Week 1 as a webpage .
1 I will find a place each day where I can pull aside for a 15-minute space of contemplative rest and reflection free from technology’s distractions.
2 I will review my decision on whether I will take one 15-minute prayer break or two 15-minute prayer breaks a day.
3 During my 15-minute quiet prayer periods this week, I will gradually read through Part Two of St. Ignatius’ conversion story. Reading reflectively, I will take my time. I am reading for spiritual insights about Ignatius’ Sacred Story and my own. Prayerful reading, known in the Catholic Tradition as lectio divina (holy reading) is done slowly. Resisting the efficiency pressures of the modern age, I realize Sacred Story is not about going faster, but deeper.
I will not read ahead.
I will awaken to the present moment.
I will take each day and each exercise as it comes.
I cannot do Sacred Story better by going faster.
You will have a new prayer exercise for every week of this journey. The exercises for this first week offer discernment principles that will help you on your journey. Listen to the exercise and pay attention to your feelings. Engage the prayers and exercises of Sacred Story with your whole being–with your mind in your heart. Be a thinking, reflective “feeler” and believer. Awaken!
Remember, you are a pilgrim (journeying alongside Ignatius himself) in this prayer journey. The Lord Jesus will reward you for your courage and your resolve. Christ promises to be faithful to you! He will help you every possible step of the way because He came, lived and died so you might have abundant life and bear fruit that endures to eternity. Thank Him in advance for the great blessings and insights you will receive. Live a life of gratitude to God for all life’s blessings and gifts.
Sacred Story Affirmations
The Affirmations sketch most of the realities you will encounter in your spiritual journey with Sacred Story prayer. As your first spiritual disciplines of this process, take some days to reflectively contemplate these Affirmations for your Sacred Story practice. Use your 15-minute Sacred Story prayer times for this purpose. Take as many days as you desire and listen attentively to them. Do not limit the number of days or sessions you spend with them. Your heart, by its peacefulness, will lead you forward to the next exercises at the right time. Trust God’s grace working in your heart to lead you.
As you listen to Sacred Story Affirmations, be attentive to all the persons, events and issues in your life. Be especially attentive to the things that cause fear, stress, anxiety, anger or grief. When these feelings/emotions surface, notice how and if they connect with the Affirmations that you are contemplating. Always listen with your mind in your heart to the events, issues and persons in your life story. Be curious. Listen to how or why these events, issues, and persons may be linked to the spiritual, emotional and moral dimension of your experiences. Again, pay particular attention to those that might stimulate grief, anxiety, stress, anger and fear stress, anger and fear.
Sacred Story focuses attention on things that are both delightful and difficult to experience. But as St. Ignatius learned, focusing attention on the difficult things is very fruitful. These aspects of your life history have the potential to rob you of hope, joy, love, and freedom. You can experience deeper, lasting peace by letting difficulties arise and allowing the Divine Physician to heal you. We have nothing to fear with Christ by our side. Take as long as you desire to reflect on the Affirmations of your Sacred Story.
My Sacred Story takes a lifetime to write.
Be Not Afraid: Fear comes from the enemy of my human nature.
The pathway to God’s peace and healing runs through my heart’s brokenness, sin, fear, anger and grief.
God resolves all my problems with time and patience.
I will have difficulties in this life.
There are just two ways to cope with my difficulties.
One leads to life, one to death. I will choose life.
“Impossible” is not a word in God’s vocabulary.
Sacred Story leads to my freedom and authenticity, but does not always make me feel happy.
My life’s greatest tragedies can be transformed into my life’s major blessings.
Times of peace and hope always give way to times of difficulty and stress.
Times of difficulty and stress always give way to times of peace and hope.
I will not tire of asking God for help since God delights in my asking.
The urge to stop Sacred Story practice always comes before my greatest breakthroughs.
God gives me insights, not because I am better than others, but because I am loved.
The insights and graces I need to move forward in life’s journey unfold at the right time.
My personal engagement with Sacred Story accomplishes, through Christ, a work of eternal significance.
Inspirations can have a divine or a demonic source. I pray for the grace to remember how to discern one from the other.
Christ, who has walked before me, shares my every burden.
Christ, who has walked before me, will help me resolve every crisis.
Christ, who has walked before me, knows my every hope.
Christ, who has walked before me, knows everything I suffer.
Christ, who walks before me, will always lead me home to safety.
I will strive to curb temptations to react to people and events.
I will ask myself what causes my anger and irritation at people and events.
I will seek to identify the source of my anger and irritation.
I will give thanks for what angers and upsets me;
for identifying their source will help to set me free.
I will strive to listen, watch and pray; listen, watch and pray.
I will listen, watch and pray!
Everyone has been mortally wounded spiritually, psychologically, and physically by Original Sin and the loss of paradise.
Journeying with Christ to the roots of my sins and addictions will help break their grip.
I will not waste time worrying about my sins and failures.
I will use my time wisely and ask God to help me understand the source of my sins and failings.
I will trust that Christ came to heal all my wounds.
I alone control Christ’s ability to transform my life into a Sacred Story.
The process begins when I ask for the grace to honestly name my sins and addictions.
The process continues when I invite Christ to illuminate my narcissism.
Only God’s grace and mercy can write my Sacred Story..
I will strive daily to pick up the cross, for it leads to my life.
The closer I get to holiness, the more I will see and feel sin’s disorder in my life.
The more I experience sin’s disorder, the more tempted I will be to disbelieve my life as Sacred Story.
The way through the temptation is to surrender my powerlessness to God.
It is never too late to open my heart to Christ and live my life as Sacred Story.
Christ, who is close to the brokenhearted, restores my lost innocence.
The path to my Sacred Story is Creation, Presence, Memory, Mercy, and Eternity.
Your heart is prepared and you have awakened to the path you are to take. Trust it. Remember: Do not read ahead. Do not exercise ahead. Awaken to the present moment. Take each day, and each exercise as it comes.