We now begin the second part of this book in which you will find guided meditations that follow the format of the 30-day retreat outlined by Saint Ignatius. These meditations are arranged in such a way that you can use them during the corresponding liturgical season so as to unite your daily meditations to the Church Year. To accomplish this, here is a general outline of when you may want to use these various meditations.
Foundational Meditations: Use this first section of twelve meditations whenever you begin using this book. They are based upon “Week One” of The Spiritual Exercises. The ideal time to start these meditations is in October. That way you can use October and November to carefully and prayerfully go through these Foundational Meditations and the two examinations of conscience on the Seven Capital Sins and the Ten Commandments. However, if you start using this book at another time of year, then always start with these Foundational Meditations. Once you have completed this grouping of meditations and made a thorough and general confession, you can align yourself with the current calendar of the Liturgical Year.
Meditations for Advent: These six meditations should be used during the season of Advent. They are based on the first half of Week Two of The Spiritual Exercises. Additionally, you should start to use the “Examination of Conscience: Faith, Hope and Charity” during the Weekly Examen period of the holy hour. From time to time you may want to return to the Seven Capital Sins and the Ten Commandments, but the examination focusing on the imperfections of faith, hope and charity will help you to slowly purge away even the smallest of sins and spiritual imperfections.
Meditations for Christmas: These six meditations are used throughout the Christmas season up until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. They are based on the second half of the meditations in Week Two of The Spiritual Exercises.
Meditations for Ordinary Time: Once the Christmas Season ends in mid-January, just after the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, begin these seventeen meditations and continue to use them until the beginning of Lent. Note that Lent begins at different times each year, so the number of meditations you use from this section prior to Lent will coincide with that timeframe. Use some of these seventeen meditations from the Baptism of the Lord until Lent, and use the rest of them after the conclusion of the Easter Season.
Meditations for Lent: These sixteen meditations are used from Ash Wednesday through Holy Saturday. They are based on Week Three of The Spiritual Exercises.
Meditations for Easter Season: These twelve meditations are used from Easter Sunday through the completion of Pentecost. They are based on Week Four of The Spiritual Exercises. Upon the completion of the Easter Season, return to the meditations found in the “Meditations for Ordinary Time” until all seventeen of those meditations are complete.