Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Contemplation to Gain Love, from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola

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The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola


Note. First, it is well to remark two things: the first is that love ought to be shown more in deeds than in words.

[231] The second, love consists of an interchange between the two parties; that is to say in the lover’s giving and communicating to the beloved what he or she has or out of what one has or can have; and so also the beloved to the lover. Thus if the one has knowledge, one gives to the other who lacks it. The same of honors, of riches; and so the one to the other.

[46] Preparatory Prayer. To pray to God: Lord, grant me the grace that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be ordered purely to the service and praise of Thy Divine Majesty.

[232] First Prelude. The first Prelude is a composition, which is here to see how I am standing before God our Lord, and the Angels and the Saints who are interceding for me.

[233] Second Prelude. The second, to ask for what I want. Here that will be to ask for interior knowledge of such great good received, so that, being moved to profound gratitude, I may be able in all to love and serve His Divine Majesty.

[234] First Point. The First Point is to bring to memory the benefits received, of Creation, Redemption, and particular gifts, pondering with much feeling how much God our Lord has done for me, and how much He has given me of what He has; and then the same Lord desires to give me Himself as much as He can, according to His Divine design.

And with this to reflect, within myself, considering with much reason and justice what I ought on my part to offer and give to His Divine Majesty, namely all things I possess and myself with them, saying as one who makes an offering with much feeling:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and all my will — all that I have and possess. Thou gavest it to me: to Thee, Lord, I return it! All is Thine, dispose of it according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and grace, for that is enough for me.

[235] Second Point. The second, to look how God dwells in creatures, in the elements, giving them being, in the plants vegetating, in the animals feeling in them, in men giving them to understand: and so in me, giving me being, animating me, giving me sensation and making me to understand; likewise making a temple of me, being created in the image and likeness of His Divine Majesty; reflecting as much on myself in the way which is said in the first Point, or in another which I feel to be better. The same will be done for each of the following Points.

[236] Third Point. The third, to consider how God works and labors for me in all things created on the face of the earth — that is, behaves like one who labors — as in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, etc., giving them being, preserving them, giving them vegetation and sensation, etc.

Then to reflect on myself.

[237] Fourth Point. The fourth, to look how all the good things and gifts descend from above, as my limited power from the supreme and infinite power from above; and so justice, goodness, piety, mercy, etc.; as from the sun descend the rays, from the fountain the waters, etc.

Then to finish reflecting on myself, as has been said.

I will end with a Colloquy and an Our Father.

[54] Colloquy. The Colloquy is made, properly speaking, as one friend speaks to another, or as a servant to his master; now asking some grace, now blaming oneself for some misdeed, now communicating one’s affairs, and asking advice in them.


from the Spiritual Exercies of St. Ignatius Loyola.  Fr.  Elder Mullan SJ, translator and editor.  New York: 1914.  [Note:  I may have changed a word here and there, based on the original Spanish version.]

A newer and more beautiful translation of the Spiritual Exercises may be found here:


Written by John Uebersax

April 11, 2010 at 4:57 pm

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