The Spiritual Exercises
I was at a critical juncture in my faith journey — and not a particularly tidy one — when I learned of the extended Ignatian retreat offered at my parish. My conversion into the Catholic Church five years earlier had been propelled by disillusionment with the emotionalism that marked my experience in evangelical Protestant spheres. Eventually, a personal crisis had driven me to seek an expression of faith grounded in ancient tradition rather than in my unreliable ability to feel God’s presence.
It was an appropriate and necessary step of faith for me at the time, but the years that followed found me more reliant upon collective rituals and prayers and less sure of how to trust my own experience of the divine. By the time I saw the Ignatian retreat advertised in the parish bulletin, I’d realized I no longer had a personal relationship with God at all — what’s more, if I was honest, I wasn’t sure I believed such a thing really existed.