Notes: We would like to insist on the importance of devoting some time to reflection on the introductory prayer. Remember what Ignatius tells us, that “to know and savour something interiorly” is more important than knowing a lot. So don’t be in a hurry. Today we begin to consider our Principle and Foundation, by reflecting on the purpose for which we were created. An overall vision is essential before going into detail later on.
Grace: Lord, grant me the grace to feel your love internally in my life, with profound thanksgiving. Help me, O Lord, to discover the foundation of my life, according to your will.
Reflections: We begin by recalling that our whole life has been a spiritual journey. As you walk today, devote some time to remembering again your own life story and letting your mind wander over it prayerfully. Recall your past and let God show you a sort of photo album of key moments in it, some painful, others joyful, which have brought you to this present stage of your life. Who am I? How have I reached this point in my life? What people, events or places have been influential in moulding the person I now am? Let these images surface, along with whatever grateful, painful, or prayerful feelings go with them.
In contrast with the good ones, are there moments, people, or aspects of your life that cause feelings of embarrassment, which you want to disown and which you can’t imagine God accepting either. Present those moments to God, with a prayer for acceptance and growth. You don’t have to feel you have become completely reconciled or to “settle” anything today; the people and moments you have recalled and the feelings that have welled up can become matters for consideration and prayer as you walk with God on this pilgrimage. We are experiencing the process of “holding our whole life up to God”, which may at times fill us with joy and gratitude, and at others with regret and shame. The graces we seek will be gratitude, understanding and acceptance of oneself, and realisation that we are accepted by God. Think of yourself as “panning for gold,” sifting through the multitude of ideas that first come up until you find the “nugget”, the aspects of life where you may have something to learn or where you need to grow. God may be leading you to spend time reflecting on them.
Hosea 11,1-9. His love for me is a tender love.
Psalm 139, 1-14.17-18. In awe and reverence I remember how God has cared for me in times of joy and pain, in times of success and failure, in times of faithfulness and infidelity.
Spiritual Exercises, 5. «It is very helpful if those who do the exercises begin them with great courage and generosity towards their Creator and Lord, offering Him all their love and freedom, so that his Divine Majesty may dispose of their person and all they have according to His holy will.»
Final Colloquy: Sum up what has come to mind in your time of prayer, talking to Jesus as one friend does to another. Be honest with him about what you have discovered on this stage of your journey.