Spiritual Exercises for girls in Guayaquil (Ecuador), from Feb. 6th-8th of 2016.
From Feb. 6th-8th we had Spiritual Exercises in Guayaquil, taking advantage of the fact that there was no school during those days. The Exercises took place in the Catholic University, thanks to the collaboration of the pastoral committee there and the department of Philosophy who generously let us use their buildings.
There were 46 girls who attended the Spiritual Exercises and a few adult women. In the chapel there was a huge statue of Christ with his hands extended upwards to his Father in a gesture of prayer and it had the words “Ego sum via, veritas et vita”, words that were quite fitting to help us start off the Exercises on the right foot.
We followed the scheme of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, but since we had so little time we were unable to do all of the meditations that St. Ignatius suggests be done. Despite this, the Lord is able to do whatever He wants, even with poor means and poor instruments. And the reality of these exercises is that the girls received many spiritual fruits.
These are some of their comments regarding their experience during Spiritual Exercises:
-This whole time was dedicated to Jesus.
-The only thing I did the whole time was repeat “your Holy Face o Lord imprint on my heart”, even though these days were a bit hard for me, being my first time doing Spiritual Exercises.
-At the beginning of the Exercises I was very afraid and my heart was closed. It was hard for me to open up, but now I no longer am afraid.
-The Spiritual Exercises have helped me put order in my life and in my thoughts. I didn’t want to come to the Spiritual Exercises because I wanted to spend my vacation time differently. I study in the university and that atmosphere makes me grow cold in my faith. When I started college I didn’t think that that was going to happen to me, but little by little I have become lukewarm and have grown away from God. After these Exercises I have grown closer to God because He kept looking for me even though I was so far away.
-The Exercises were hard for me, but I know that it is necessary to deny myself in order to do what God wants. A line from the Stations of the Cross stayed in my mind: “I haven’t given you a life for you to waste it.”
-I have noticed that in college I get scared and cowardly. I have had many opportunities to give witness to my faith, but the devil always shows me my fears and I end up giving in. However I have seen that when I do the will of God I have peace. The Lord heals all wounds when one opens her heart to Him.
- I asked God to know his will and I realized that I have not accepted it. But I know I have to. During Spiritual Exercises I was watching birds play in the rain water and I realized that we Christians have to be like these birds, “playing” in the graces that the Lord sheds upon us.
We finished the Exercises with a heavy rain. It made us think of the quantity of graces that the Lord had given us, some we are conscience of and others that will be seen with the passing of time.
Thanks be to God.