The month of Spiritual Exercises is one of the most significant experiences in the Novitiate. From July 27 to August 30, 2018 I made my experience together with my six companions: five Jesuit novices and one Junior sister of the Teresian Sisters [of St. Henry de Ossó]. It was held in the Casa Retiros Santos Mártires, which the Society of Jesus has the in the City of Limpio in Paraguay. We were accompanied by our formators. I was accompanied by Sister Iris Altagracia González; the Paraguayan novice and the Teresian sister, by Father Oscar Martín SJ; and the 4 novices of Argentina-Uruguay by Fr. Juan Carlos Suárez, SJ, Formator for Argentina-Uruguay.
Each day we had five prayer periods and the examination of each prayer that helped us to be open to the guidance of the Spirit. The fruits of the Principle and Foundation and the First Week reminded me that God is the root of my life; and that although I distance myself from my origin, I count on the mercy and compassion of God who makes me feel that I am a forgiven sinner. The Second Week of exercises we entered into the life of Jesus in Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem. It is a week that is full of different emotions and feelings, and at the same time, it allowed me to go back to my past and contemplate my own history; and I felt how Jesus was the one who experienced in me all that He wanted to give me (God makes experience in me … ) Although the second week was very exhausting and there were moments of desolation, the fruits have been priceless, especially the healing of my wound. And I was struck by the Jesus of Nazareth who became a man to share his life and give me freedom.
For the Third Week we entered the passion and crucifixion of Jesus, which is the third degree of love. I also entered into my own crucifixion in life. I was full of emotion contemplating Jesus who carried my own cross and the suffering of the world. Jesus who died to save humanity from sin and lives from love of the will of the Father. After the third week, we entered the Fourth: the resurrection of Jesus (and contemplation to attain love). It is a week in which I also resurrected, I bring the love of God that I received. I gathered all my experiences and the fruits were full of joy, hope, consolation and faith in God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The resurrection of Jesus is also mine, this significant experience because God is love who lives and labors for me.
This month of silence taught me:
• The simplicity of prayer, how to listen to the call of the Spirit, the contemplation that really helped me to enter into my prayer to see the people, what they are doing, listen to what they are talking about.
• The importance of silence in prayer, especially in the formation of the novitiate.
• The discernment of the Spirit that guides in decision-making and the responsibility that also communicates with the real world.
I’m full of gratitude!