What are the spiritual exercises invented by St. Ignatius?

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After nearly 500 years, Ignatian spirituality is still gaining popularity among Catholics around the world, both young and old. In fact, it is said that this connection with God and form of looking inward can even help youth discern their vocation in life.  

Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre
'So you do the spiritual exercises because you have an important question about your life: what am I to do with my life? And so you have to discern, what have I to do? Because discerning goes through prayer, especially praying with the Gospel. Look to Christ and then see what are my inner feelings in my prayers. That's my feelings or as Ignatius says, my movements, my inner movements.'

He continued to explain these are not superficial feelings, but positive, in-depth feelings. It is through these feelings that God is able to speak to a person, so it is good to be aware of them.   

As a Jesuit, Pope Francis follows this means of spirituality and has spoken about asking the Holy Spirit for help as a way to help decide which path to follow in life.  

Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre
'One important thing is what [Pope Francis] repeats all the time, also in his last document on family life, is discernment. We have no clear answers to everything. We have to discern, what is the spirit? What is God's spirit saying to me, to the Church? What should we do today? This we have to discern, so that's certainly one of the...it's also the center of the spiritual exercises.'

The spiritual exercises revolve around two questions to deepen ones relationship with God, with themselves and with other people. The first is where is God present in life today? And the second question, of course, is if each person was present to God? These questions can be asked during an examination of consciousness.  

Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre
'This demands a whole time of prayer. This is not just, 'Oh, I will be united with God.' No, it demands some prayer.' 

If one is able to internally reflect to judge their thoughts and feelings, and also look outward to God and His presence throughout the day, Fr. Marc says the process of discovering the vocation for life is much easier. 

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