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[Canada: ($14) $11.95] Translated with commentary by Anthony Mottola, Ph.D. In his incisive Introduction to this classic work of Christian spirituality, Fr. Robert W. Gleason states that: "The Spiritual Exercises touch on so many important aspects of the spiritual life that they may justly be called a summary of the most profound principles of ascetical theology... The central positive principle is the imitation of Christ our Lord, the exemplary cause of all Christian perfection.' A complete guide and framework for achieving Christian perfection, the Exercises are divided into four weeks of meditations which are generally directed by a retreat master. The first week is designed to help the retreatant to purify his soul and put his life in order; the aim of the second week is to lead the soul to a greater knowledge of and love for Jesus Christ; the third week is devoted to freeing the will from the psychological obstacles which stand in the way of a generous decision to follow Christ; and the fourth week is intended to purify the heart in the highest degree from false attachment to creatures, goods, or worldly ambition and honor.

The four key meditations of the Exercises--without which a retreat would not be Ignatian--are contemplations on the Kingdom of God, the Two Standards (of Christ and of Satan), the Three Classes of Men, and The Three Modes of Humility. Crowning the whole work of the Exercises is the Contemplation to Obtain Love, which synthesizes the total effort of the four weeks so that the retreatant resolves to live a life exclusively for God in joyous service.

The first step in the essential method of the Ignatian approach to spirituality is a whole-hearted desire for distinguished and generous service of Christ, and this desire is perfected and developed through active participation in the meditations given, the maintenance of complete silence, the constant observance of the movements of the soul from indifference through compunction to devotion to Christ, contemplation of His life and reform of one's own life and, finally, the union of the will in perfect familiarity with God.

The high praise that has been lavished on the Exercises through the years by religious and lay people is a continuing tribute to the worth of these meditations as a precise tool for re-energizing the spiritual life. This new translation provides a clear, orderly, and modern version of the timeless classic.

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