St. Ignatius was a soldier for Spain, but he was very badly wounded and had several operations. While he was recovering, he read a book about saints, and realized he wanted to live the way they did. At first, he would pray seven hours a day, and he had holy visions. Then he went through a very hard time that left him very sad and doubtful. He used what he learned from these trials to write “Spiritual Exercises,” which has helped many, many Christians ever since.
Saint Ignatius prayed for seven hours a day, because he was living a monastic life. Laypeople usually can’t take the time to pray like that, but for families that are on summer vacation, you can pause every hour for just a few minutes to say a prayer together following what Saint Ignatius taught people in his “Spiritual Exercises.” For families with parents who work outside the home, you can do these all at once in less than half an hour.
Family Devotions based on Saint Ignatius’ “Spiritual Exercises”
Prayer #1: Lord, we thank you for your perfect, unconditional love. Help us to always stay close to you, and help us give you everything we have and everything we are, so that you are glorified in all ways. Amen.
Prayer #2: Lord, everybody in the world needs to be rescued from sin. Please help us! Heal us from fear, guilt, and other wounds that come from our sins. Help us flee from sin and trust you to lead us in the way of truth and light. Amen.
Prayer #3: Lord, sometimes when we sin, it’s hard to know that we are totally forgiven. Please help us trust Your gift of salvation. Amen.
Prayer #4: Lord, help us hear Your call to follow You. We want to be your disciples and do the work You have given us to do. Help us hear Your “still, small voice” and help us always be ready, willing and brave enough to follow. Amen.
Prayer #5: Lord, every day, we have the choice to follow You. Help us to reject what is evil, like greed, fame and pride. Help us dedicate our lives to serving You. Amen.
Prayer #6: Lord, give us strength to carry out the what You ask us to do – to tell people about Your great compassion and to help them see their need for Your salvation. Amen.
Prayer #7: Lord, we want to live in your love and your joy. Help us see the reality of your deep love and everlasting mercy. Amen.
Saint Ignatius Loyola, pray for us!