SP2900 Spiritual Exercises: Pastoral Dynamics

Spring 2005

Instructor: Elizabeth Liebert

Place: Mudd 103
Time: Fridays 11:10 - 2:00


The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola offer useful dynamics for pastoral ministry in Protestant as well as Roman Catholic settings. This course, developed for those preparing for general parish ministry, pastoral care and counseling or spiritual direction in congregational settings, will examine dynamics grounded in the Spiritual Exercises: spiritual conversation, examination of conscience, prayer (especially Gospel contemplation), discernment of call (election), discernment of spirits, and contemplation in action. We will note the original context in Ignatius's life and/or the Spiritual Exercises, and discuss contemporary adaptations for various ecclesial contexts and theologies. We will pay particular attention to adaptations useful for contemporary women. Learning strategies include: lecture, PowerPoint (instructor and students) discussion of assigned readings and case material, use of Blackboard (students will do on-line assignments), and term paper. No prior experience of the Spiritual Exercises is necessary, but students must be willing to participate in an on-line version of the Spiritual Exercises during the class in order to gain some direct experience of the Spiritual Exercises.

Student Expectations
Participants will:

  1. Attend class regularly (discussion will be an important component for making the adaptations to contemporary situations).
  2. Prepare the readings prior to class.
  3. Read one additional book, selected for its relevance to the dynamic that will be explored in the final paper. Other readings than those on the syllabus may be substituted with permission of instructor.
  4. Participate in an on-line version of the Spiritual Exercises, at least one time per week, and write 1-2 paragraph response to the experience. Ideally, the part of the SE selected will relate somewhat to the materials being covered in class. (Suggestions will be made!) On alternative to the online SE will be explained at the first class; students may select, but are responsible for the additional cost.
  5. Write one response paper of approximately 3 pp. making a comparison/contrast between one of the tensions in Ignatian spirituality as listed in Barry and Doherty and the student’s selected ministerial context. This paper will be an initial foray into analyzing both Ignatian dynamics and the individual contexts; the process will be extended in the final paper. Due on February 25.
  6. Write a term paper of 12-15 pp. (double-spaced, 1 inch margins, 12 point type), which discusses uses and adaptations of one of the six dynamics developed in the class in a concrete ministerial setting that you are in currently/have been in recently (e.g. internship, service as an elder or deacon prior to seminary), or expect to be in in the near future. This paper must show (1) understanding of the Ignatian dynamic (2) realistic understanding and analysis of the ministerial context and (3) explicit reference to the extra selected reading in number 3 above. (Examples: (a) Spiritual Conversation as used in a ministry of spiritual direction with Protestant women. Reading: Lambert; (b) Examen used as the basis for long-range planning for the Religious Education ministry in a small rural non-denominational congregation. Reading: Lonsdale and Linn, Linn and Linn; (c) Prayer retreat for adult education class in a Presbyterian Church. Reading: Barry; (d) Contemplation in Action: evaluating the justice ministry of a Catholic church in a border town. Reading: Lowney.) Due on Tuesday, May 17 by 5:00 p.m.
  7. Present a 10-minute summary of the term paper noting key aspects of the three parts of the term paper as listed in #6.

Course learning objectives
Participants will:

  1. Become familiar with the six dynamics listed in the syllabus in their origin in Ignatian spirituality. (Discussion and final paper).
  2. Demonstrate, using any one of the six dynamics, appropriate adaptations and/or connections to their own theological and ministerial contexts. (Response paper and final paper)
  3. Experiment with various spiritual practices related to these six dynamics and with an on-line version of the Spiritual Exercises and debrief them together; recognize in the variety of responses differing appropriation strategies. (Discussion and weekly response papers to the SE on-line).
  4. Demonstrate the appropriate adaptation of a classic spiritual text into a contemporary ministerial context. (Discussion, response paper, final paper and its presentation).
  5. Conduct, at at least a beginning level, an analysis of context. (Response paper, final paper and its presentation).

Required Reading

Barry, William, and Doherty, Robert. Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way. New York: Paulist Press, 2002.

Dyckman, Katherine, Garvin, Mary and Liebert, Elizabeth. The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women. New York: Paulist Press, 2001

Ganss, George, ed. Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works. Classics of Western Spirituality New York: Paulist Press, 1991.

Huggett, Joyce. “Why Ignatian Spirituality Hooks Protestants.” The Way Supplement 68 (summer 1990): 22-34.

Linn, Dennis, Linn, Sheila Fabricant, and Linn, Matthew. Sleeping with Bread: Holding What Gives You Life. New York: Paulist Press, 1995.

Lonsdale, David. Eyes to See, Ears to Hear: An Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books: 2000.

Raitt, Jill. “Saints and Sinners: Roman Catholic and Protestant Spirituality in the Sixteenth Century,” in Christian Spirituality: High Middle Ages and Reformation, ed. Jill Raitt, pp. 454-463. (New York: Crossroad: 1987).

Wolff, Pierre. Discernment: The Art of Choosing Well: Based on Ignatian Spirituality. Revised Edition. Liguori, MO: Triumph Books, 2003.

http://www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/com-retreat.html. (parts)

And ONE of the following
(choose according to the particular emphasis you select for your final paper)

Barry, William A. What Do I Want in Prayer? New York: Paulist Press, 1994. (prayer)

Brackley, Dean. The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times. New York: Paulist, 2004 (contemplation in action)

Lambert, Willi. Directions for Communication: Discoveries with Ignatius Loyola. New York: Crossroad, 2000. (pastoral conversation)

Lonsdale, David. Listening to the Music of the Spirit: The Art of Discernment. Notre Dame IN, Ave Maria Press, 1992. (discernment; out of print but the library has it and you can probably get it through an on-line used book service if you want your own copy).

Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World. Chicago: Loyola, 2003. (administration)

Ryan, Thomas. Four Steps to Spiritual Freedom. New York: Paulist Press, 2003. (basic attitude of indifference, examen and discernment)

 Smith, Gordon T. Listening to God in Times of Choice: The Art of Discernment God’s Will. Downers Grove, Ill. InterVarsity Press, 1997. (discernment; evangelical view)

Recommended Reading

Silf, Margaret. Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality. Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999. (A jargon-free prayerful introduction to the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises. Could be used as a companion to the SE, or could be used as a group study/prayer apart from the Exercises.) It is possible to select this book for your extra reading.

Tellechea Idígoras, José Ignacio. Ignatius of Loyola: The Pilgrim Saint. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1994. (One of the most readable biographies of Ignatius, written without a lot of scholarly apparatus.)

Special Learning Needs: If you need special consideration in the length and timing of assignments or arrangement of classroom for reasons of documented disability, please inform the instructor with the first few days of class so that appropriate accommodations might be arranged.

Probable Outline of Sessions

February 4: Introductions of participants and course. Hopes and expectations. Signing up for Blackboard; accessing the class on Blackboard. Introduction to online versions of Spiritual Exercises and alternative. Viewing Ignatius of Loyola: The Story of the Pilgrim, I Michael Bellafiore, SJ. (Parts I and II)

February 11: Context: World context of Ignatius, Discussion of the world context of Participants. Bellafiore (Part III).

Assignment:on-line: Ignatiushistory, website: “Family History,” “Young Ignatius,” and “Soldier”; text: Raitt, “Saints and Sinners: Roman Catholic and Protestant Spirituality in the Sixteenth Century”; Huggett, “Why Ignatian Spirituality Hooks Protestants”; Lonsdale Chapter 1; Dyckman, Ch. 1-2.

February 18 : Context: Life of Ignatius. Rubens illustrations.

Assignment:on-line: Ignatiushistory website: “Convalescence,” “Pilgrimage,” and “Time of Studies”; text: Ignatius of Loyola, “Autobiography” (in Ganss, pp.67-111).

February 25 : Context, From Then to Now. Current expressions of Ignatian spirituality and comparison to context of participants. Rubens illustrations.

Assignment:on-line: Ignatiushistory website: “Formation of the Companions, “Founding of the Society,” Legacy,” and “Death”; text: Barry and Doherty, (all) write: take one tension (either from Barry and Doherty or from any of the background material, and write a 2-3 pp (double spaced) reflection about your own ministerial context as it compares with the dynamics of Ignatian spirituality or the context of Ignatius.

March 4: Introduction to the Spiritual Exercises and the “Weeks”; Principle and Foundation (SE #21-23, Annotation #4). Vashon etchings.

Assignment:online: begin online version of Spiritual Exercises; write: one or two paragraph response to the on-line SE; text: Dyckman, Ch 4; Lonsdale, Ch. 6, Ganss, “General Introduction,” pp. 9-63.

March 11 : Ignatian Principles of Guidance. Close reading of annotations and #1-20.

Assignment: online: continue SE online version; write: a 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Dyckman, Ch. 3. Select topic for final paper, and select book to read in conjunction with paper.

March 18: Ignatian Principles of Conversation. Pesupposition, #23.

Assignment: online: continue SE online version; write: 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Lonsdale Ch. 6-7; begin reading selected extra text.

March 25: Reading Week. No class. Complete the reading of the selected extra text, if possible.

April 1 : Examination of Conscience, Various Contemporary Adaptations Close reading of SE #24-44. Prayer in SE (meditation and contemplation, SE #45-54,101-109)

Assignment: on-line: continue SE online version; write 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Linn, Linn and Linn, Sleeping With Bread (all).

April 8: Prayer in SE, cont. Application of the Senses, Additional Forms of Prayer. Close reading of SE # 65-71, 121-126, 230-258.

Assignment: on-line: continue SE online version; text: Dyckman, Ch. 5, Lonsdale, Ch. 5.

April 15: Discernment of Spirits. Close reading of SE 313-336.

Assignment: on-line: continue SE online version; write 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Dyckman, Ch. 10-11; Lonsdale, Ch. 4.

April 22: Election. Close reading of SE #169-189.

Assignment: on-line: continue SE online version; write 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Wolff, Discernment: the Art of Choosing Well (all).

April 29 : Contemplation to Attain Love; Contemplation in Action. Close reading of SE # 23-237.

Assignment: on-line: continue SE online version; write 1-2 paragraph response to the online Exercises; text: Lonsdale, Ch. 9-10, Dyckman, Ch. 9.

May 6: Principles of adapting into contemporary contexts—general discussion. Personal experiences using on-line retreat. Presentation of term-paper learnings.

Assignment: prepare final paper.

May 13 . Presentation of term-paper learnings. Final evaluation.

Assignment: Term-papers due in campus mail by Monday, 5:00 p.m. (I should get them no later than Wednesday.)

Elizabeth Liebert
January 2005