Need an easy way to introduce students, young adults, or groups to Ignatian spirituality? Beginning with the Principle and Foundation and culminating with the Contemplatio, Desires of the Heart: Themes of Ignatian Spirituality is a ten-week series that was designed to introduce undergraduate students to the basic aspects of Ignatian spirituality in a short, easily digestible way. But, it can be used for most any population.
Each gathering is intentionally short, lasts approximately 20 minutes, and may precede Mass, adoration, or another prayerful time. For students, it may be fitting for it to be offered in the spring semester, concluding just before Easter break. Those in the midst of making major transitions (graduation, finding a job) may find themes of discernment especially helpful.
Desires of the Heart has already been offered at three Jesuit universities: Georgetown University, Fordham University, and Boston College.
“Prayer is as natural to us as breathing is. We don’t have to be taught how to pray. We have only to be invited to start praying and then to be helped to become more conscious of our prayer.”
– Joseph Tetlow, SJ
Each week includes a single-sheet handout which offers participants a brief background on the week’s theme and its connection to Saint Ignatius’ life or the Spiritual Exercises. The handout also includes practical pointers and resources for praying in the Ignatian method on one’s own.
Every week also has a print-out that guides the leader each week. The Leader Sheet starts off with several important points that indicate what to read or explain to the participants. The points offer guidance in beginning the first half of the gathering. The second part is a guided meditation or reflection which indicates pauses and an estimated duration.
Listen to the teaching and audio meditation for each week by clicking the week’s theme below:
- Freedom & Foundation: Oriented toward God; preparing for prayer
- Desire & Grace: Seeking God and naming my desire
- Examen: Prayer through reflection; what our feelings tell us
- Art & Imagination: Praying with our senses
- Colloquy: Conversation with Jesus
- Discernment of Spirits: The tension of good and evil; consolation and desolation
- Call & Response: On mission with Jesus
- Making Choices in Christ: Ignatian decision-making; determining God’s will
- Sin: The personal and cosmic effects of sin; God’s mercy
- Love: Contemplation on the Love of God; God’s unceasing giving and gifting