Read the following introduction prior to beginning Meditations 7 through 9.
From The Spiritual Exercises:
First Point. The first Point is the statement of the sins; that is to say, to bring to memory all the sins of life, looking from year to year, or from period to period. For this three things are helpful: first, to look at the place and the house where I have lived; second, the relations I have had with others; third, the occupation in which I have lived.
Second Point. The second, to weigh the sins, looking at the foulness and the malice which any mortal sin committed has in it, even supposing it were not forbidden.
Third Point. The third, to look at who I am, lessening myself by examples: First, how much I am in comparison to all men; Second, what men are in comparison to all the Angels and Saints of Paradise; Third, what all Creation is in comparison to God: (–Then I alone, what can I be?) Fourth, to see all my bodily corruption and foulness; Fifth, to look at myself as a sore and ulcer, from which have sprung so many sins and so many iniquities and so very vile poison.
Fourth Point. The fourth, to consider what God is, against Whom I have sinned, according to His attributes; comparing them with their contraries in me: His Wisdom with my ignorance; His Omnipotence with my weakness; His Justice with my iniquity; His Goodness with my malice.
Fifth Point. The fifth, an exclamation of wonder with deep feeling, going through all creatures, how they have left me in life and preserved me in it; the Angels, how, though they are the sword of the Divine Justice, they have endured me, and guarded me, and prayed for me; the Saints, how they have been engaged in interceding and praying for me; and the heavens, sun, moon, stars, and elements, fruits, birds, fishes and animals—and the earth, how it has not opened to swallow me up, creating new Hells for me to suffer in them forever!
The goal of the following three meditations is to enter deeper into the mystery of your own personal sin, to look at your sin in truth, and to foster a deep desire to turn away from your personal sin. When looking at your personal sins, it’s essential that you see them from one and only one perspective: from the perspective of God. God sees your sins in perfect clarity. He sees every detail. He also sees the remedy for your sin and offers it freely.
The following three meditations flow from the principles set forth by Saint Ignatius above. However, if you prefer to follow the exact instructions from Saint Ignatius, then discard the next three meditations and use the above five points for your meditation instead, following his instructions for meditation carefully.
- God, the Creator of All That Is
- God, the Intimate Guide for Your Life
- God, the Goal, Purpose and End of Your Life
- Sin of the Angels
- Sin of Adam and Eve
- The General Effects of Sin
- Introduction to Meditations Seven–Nine
- Personal Sin: In the Light of the Divine Sun
- Personal Sins of My Life
- Humiliation and Humility