Life of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ingatius

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The Spiritual Exercises


St. Ignatius of Loyola









Facultatem concedimus ut liber cui titulus “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola translated from the Autograph by Father Elder Mullan, S.J.,” typis edatur, si iis ad quos spectat ita videbitur.

Franciscus Xav. Wernz 

Praepositus Generalis Societatis Jesu

Nihil Obstat

Remigius Lafort, S.T.D.,



John Cardinal Farley,

Archiepiscopus Neo-Eboracensis,


Die 25 Aprilis, 1914.


Fr. Albert Lepidi, O.P., 

Mag. Sac. Pal.


Joseph Ceppetelli,

Patriarcha Constantinop.





The Exercises were offered for ecclesiastical censure at Rome. The text submitted was not, however, the one which is here reproduced, but two Latin translations, one in more polished Latin -- since called the Vulgate Version -- and one a literal rendering. The opinions expressed on these versions, as also the formal approval of Paul III, are given here, as applying quite entirely to the text from which the translations were made.


We have read everything compiled in the volume: it has greatly pleased us and seemed remarkably conducive to the salvation of souls.

The Cardinal of Burgos

We grant leave to print the work; it is worthy of all praise and very profitable to the Christian profession.

Philip, Vicar.

Such holy Exercises cannot but afford the greatest profit to any one who studies them. They should therefore be received with open arms.

Fr. Aegidius Foscararius,

Master of the Sacred Palace


We have read these Spiritual Exercises, They greatly please us and we judge them worthy of being received and highly esteemed by all who practise the orthodox faith.

The Cardinal of Burgos

We grant leave to print this work; it is worthy of all praise and very profitable to the Christian profession.

Philip, Vicar

As the Christian religion cannot long subsist without some spiritual exercises and meditations -- for the Psalmist says: In my meditation a fire flames out -- I think none more appropriate than these, which undoubtedly have had their source in the study of the Scriptures and in long experience.

Fr. Aegidius Foscararius,

Master of the Sacred Palace



The cares of the pastoral charge of the whole flock of Christ entrusted to Us and Our devotion to the glory and praise of God impel Us to embrace what helps the salvation of souls and their spiritual profit, and cause Us to hearken to those who petition Us for what can foster and nourish piety in the faithful.

So Our beloved son, Francis de Borgia, Duke of Gandia, has lately brought it to Our notice that Our beloved son Ignatius de Loyola, General of the Society of Jesus, erected by Us in Our beloved City and confirmed by Our Apostolic authority, has compiled certain instructions, or Spiritual Exercises, drawn from Holy Writ and from experience in the spiritual life, and has reduced them to an order which is excellently adapted to move piously the souls of the faithful, and that they are very useful and wholesome for the spiritual consolation and profit of the same. This the said Duke Francis has come to know by report from many places and by clear evidence at Barcelona, Valencia and Gandia.

Hence he has humbly begged Us to cause the aforesaid instructions and Spiritual Exercises to be examined, so that their fruit may be more spread, and more of the faithful may be induced to use them with greater devotion. And he has begged Us, should We find them worthy, to approve and praise them and out of Our Apostolic goodness to make other provision in the premisses.

We, therefore, have caused these instructions and Exercises to be examined, and by the testimony of and report made to Us by Our beloved son John Cardinal Priest of the Title of St. Clement, Bishop of Burgos and Inquisitor, Our venerable Brother Philip, Bishop of Saluciae, and Our Vicar General in things spiritual at Rome, and Our beloved son Aegidius Foscararius, Master of Our Sacred Palace, have found that these Exercises are full of piety and holiness and that they are and will be extremely useful and salutary for the spiritual profit of the faithful.

We have, besides, as We should, due regard to the rich fruits which Ignatius and the aforesaid Society founded by him are constantly producing everywhere in the Church of God, and to the very great help which the said Exercises have proved in this.

Moved, then, by this petition, with the aforesaid authority, by these presents, and of Our certain knowledge, We approve, praise, and favor with the present writing the aforesaid instructions and Exercises and all and everything contained in them, and We earnestly exhort all and each of the faithful of both sexes everywhere to employ instructions and Exercises so pious and to be instructed by them.

[Here follow regulations for the diffusion of the book, and then confirmatory clauses.]

Given at St. Mark’s in Rome under the seal of the Fisherman, 31 July, 1548, in the 14th year of Our Pontificate.

Blo. El. Fulginen.


THE present translation of the Exercises of St. Ignatius has been made from the Spanish Autograph of St. Ignatius. The copy so designated is not indeed in the handwriting of the Saint, but has a good number of corrections made by him and is known to have been used by him in giving the Exercises.

St. Ignatius of Loyola was a man without any great pretensions to education at the time he wrote this book. His native language was not Spanish, but Basque. His lack of education and his imperfect acquaintance with pure Spanish are enough to make it clear that a refined use of any language, and more especially of the Spanish, or, in general, anything like a finished or even perfectly correct, style is not to be expected in his work. Literary defects he removed to some extent, perhaps, as he continued to use and apply the book, but he is known never to have been fearful of such faults. His corrections found in this text are clearly made with a view to precision more than to anything else.

The Autograph of St. Ignatius was translated by Father General Roothaan into Latin and was reproduced by Father Rodeles in his edition of the Spanish text. But the original was not available to ordinary students. In 1908, however, Father General Wernz allowed the entire book to be phototyped, and in this way it was spread throughout the Society of Jesus in a large number of copies. It is one of these which has been chiefly employed by the present translator, who has, besides, made frequent use of the Manuscript itself.

After considerable study of the matter, it seemed best to make this translation as faithful and close a reproduction of the Spanish text as could be. To do so it was necessary at times to sacrifice the niceties of style, but it was thought that those who would use the book would easily forego the elegancies of diction if they could feel sure they were reading the very words of St. Ignatius. Any other form of translation than the one adopted could hardly be kept from being a partial expansion, illustration or development of the original, and would therefore have proved, to some extent, a commentary as well as a translation. This the translator has earnestly sought to avoid, preferring to leave the further work of commentary to another occasion or to other hands.

Another reason for aiming at absolute fidelity rather than style was the fact that the Exercises are mostly read, not continuously for any time, but piecemeal and meditatively. Literary finish would therefore not be much sought or cared for in the book, but accuracy is. For this a certain neglect of style seemed pardonable in the translation, if only the real meaning of the writer could be made clear. Perhaps some may even find a charm in the consequent want of finish, seeing it reproduces more completely the style of St. Ignatius. 

The process of translating in this way the Autograph text is not as simple as it might seem. The first difficulty is to make sure of the exact meaning of St. Ignatius. This is obscured, at times, by his language being that of nearly 400 years ago and being not pure Spanish. Occasionally, in fact, the Saint makes new Spanish words from the Latin or Italian, or uses Spanish words in an Italian or Latin sense, or employs phrases not current except in the Schools, and sometimes even has recourse to words in their Latin form. To be sure, then, of the meaning, one must often go to other languages and to the terms adopted in Scholastic Philosophy or Theology. The meaning clear, the further difficulty comes of finding an exactly equivalent English word or phrase.

In accomplishing his task, the translator has made free use of other translations, especially of that of Father General Roothaan into Latin, that of Father Venturi into Italian, and that of Father Jennesseaux into French, and has had the use of the literal translation into Latin made, apparently, by St. Ignatius himself, copied in 1541, and formally approved by the Holy See in 1548.

Besides the last-mentioned Manuscript and printed books, the translator has to acknowledge, as he does very gratefully, his obligations to the Very Rev. Father Mathias Abad, Father Achilles Gerste and particularly Father Mariano Lecina, Editor of the Ignatiana in the Monumenta Historica S.J., for aid in appreciating the Spanish text, to Fathers Michael Ahern, Peter Cusick, Walter Drum, Francis Kemper and Herbert Noonan for general revision of the translation, and above all to Father Aloysius Frumveller for an accurate collation of the translation with the original.

In conclusion, it is well to warn the reader that the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are not meant to be read cursorily, but to be pondered word for word and under the direction of a competent guide. Read straight on, it may well appear jejune and unsatisfactory; studied in the actual making of the Exercises, the very text itself cannot fail to yield ever new material for thought and prayer.


German College, Rome

Feast of St. Ignatius, 1909.


Approbation of the Latin Text


General Note

Prayer of Father Diertins



First Week

Principle and Foundation

Particular and Daily Examen

General Examen

General Confession with Communion

Meditation on the First, the Second, and the Third Sin

Meditation on Sins

First Repetition

Second Repetition

Meditation on Hell



Second Week

The Call of the Temporal King


First Day

The Incarnation

The Nativity


Second Day


Third Day

Preamble to Consider States

Fourth Day

Two Standards


Three Pairs of Men


Fifth Day

Sixth -- Tenth Day

Eleventh -- Twelfth Day


Three Manners of Humility


Prelude for Making Election

Matter of Election


Times for Making Election

First Time

Second Time

Third Time

First Way

Second Wa


To Amend and Reform one’s own Life and State

Third Week

First Contemplation


Second Contemplation


Second -- Fourth Day

Fifth -- Seventh Day



Fourth Week

First Contemplation


Contemplation to Gain Love

Three Methods of Prayer

First Method

Second Method

Third Method

Mysteries of the Life of Christ our Lord


Rules for Perceiving the Movements Caused in the Soul

First Week

Second Week

Rules for Distributing Alms

Notes on Scruples and Persuasions of the Enemy

Rules to have the True Sentiment in the Church

General Index


In the reproduction of the text in English:

1. No change whatever is made in the wording. The proper corrections, however, of the two unimportant slips in quotation have been indicated in italics.

It may be remarked in passing that the text of Holy Scripture is not seldom given in the Spiritual Exercises in wording somewhat different from that of the Vulgate. Such divergences have not been noted in this translation. It will be remembered that, when the book was written, the Council of Trent had not yet put its seal on the Vulgate.

2. The head lines and the rubrics have been kept as they stand in the Manuscript. Where they were wanting, they have been supplied in italics.

3. Abbreviations have been filled out.

4. Wherever italics are used, the words in this character belong to the translator and not to St. Ignatius.

5. In the use of small and capital letters, and in the matter of punctuation and the division into paragraphs the practice of the copyist has usually not been followed. Various kinds of type, also, are used independently of the Manuscript.

6. As a matter of convenience, in citations from Holy Scripture, the modern method by chapter and verse is substituted for that of the Mss. chapter and letter. Besides, quotations are indicated by quotation marks in place of the parentheses of the Mss.

Elder Mullan, S.J.



ROUSE up, O Lord, and foster the spirit of the Exercises which Blessed Ignatius labored to spread abroad, that we, too, may be filled with it and be zealous to love what he loved and do what he taught! Through Christ our Lord.







First Annotation. The first Annotation is that by this name of Spiritual Exercises is meant every way of examining one’s conscience, of meditating, of contemplating, of praying vocally and mentally, and of performing other spiritual actions, as will be said later. For as strolling, walking and running are bodily exercises, so every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and, after it is rid, to seek and find the Divine Will as to the management of one’s life for the salvation of the soul, is called a Spiritual Exercise.

Second Annotation.[1] The second is that the person who gives to another the way and order in which to meditate or contemplate, ought to relate faithfully the events of such Contemplation or Meditation, going over the Points with only a short or summary development. For, if the person who is making the Contemplation, takes the true groundwork of the narrative, and, discussing and considering for himself, finds something which makes the events a little clearer or brings them a little more home to him -- whether this comes through his own reasoning, or because his intellect is enlightened by the Divine power -- he will get more spiritual relish and fruit, than if he who is giving the Exercises had much explained and amplified the meaning of the events. For it is not knowing much, but realising and relishing things interiorly, that contents and satisfies the soul.

Third Annotation. The third: As in all the following Spiritual Exercises, we use acts of the intellect in reasoning, and acts of the will in movements of the feelings: let us remark that, in the acts of the will, when we are speaking vocally or mentally with God our Lord, or with His Saints, greater reverence is required on our part than when we are using the intellect in understanding.

Fourth Annotation. The fourth: The following Exercises are divided into four parts:

First, the consideration and contemplation on the sins;

Second, the life of Christ our Lord up to Palm Sunday inclusively;

Third, the Passion of Christ our Lord;

Fourth, the Resurrection and Ascension, with the three Methods of Prayer.

Though four weeks, to correspond to this division, are spent in the Exercises, it is not to be understood that each Week has, of necessity, seven or eight days. For, as it happens that in the First Week some are slower to find what they seek -- namely, contrition, sorrow and tears for their sins -- and in the same way some are more diligent than others, and more acted on or tried by different spirits; it is necessary sometimes to shorten the Week, and at other times to lengthen it. The same is true of all the other subsequent Weeks, seeking out the things according to the subject matter. However, the Exercises will be finished in thirty days, a little more or less.

Fifth Annotation. The fifth: It is very helpful to him who is receiving the Exercises to enter into them with great courage and generosity towards his Creator and Lord, offering[2] Him all his will and liberty, that His Divine Majesty may make use of his person and of all he has according[3] to His most Holy Will.

Sixth Annotation. The sixth: When he who is giving the Exercises sees that no spiritual movements, such as consolations or desolations, come to the soul of him who is exercising himself, and that he is not moved by different spirits, he ought to inquire carefully of him about the Exercises, whether he does them at their appointed times, and how. So too of the Additions, whether he observes them with diligence. Let him ask in detail about each of these things.

Consolation and desolation are spoken of on p. 170; the Additions on p. 22.

Seventh Annotation. The seventh: If he who is giving the Exercises sees that he who is receiving them is in desolation and tempted, let him not be hard or dissatisfied with him, but gentle and indulgent, giving him courage and strength for the future, and laying bare to him the wiles of the enemy of human nature, and getting him to prepare and dispose himself for the consolation coming.

Eighth Annotation. The eighth: If he who is giving the Exercises sees that he who is receiving them is in need of instruction about the desolations and wiles of the enemy -- and the same of consolations -- he may explain to him, as far as he needs them, the Rules of the First and Second Weeks for recognising different spirits. (P. 177).

Ninth Annotation. The ninth is to notice, when he who is exercising himself is in the Exercises of the First Week, if he is a person who has not been versed in spiritual things, and is tempted grossly and openly -- having, for example, suggested to him obstacles to going on in the service of God our Lord, such as labors, shame and fear for the honor of the world -- let him who is giving the Exercises not explain to him the Rules of the Second Week for the discernment of spirits. Because, as much as those of the First Week will be helpful, those of the Second will be harmful to him, as being matter too subtle and too high for him to understand.

Tenth Annotation. The tenth: When he who is giving the Exercises perceives that he who is receiving them is assaulted and tempted under the appearance of good, then it is proper to instruct him about the Rules of the Second Week already mentioned. For, ordinarily, the enemy of human nature tempts under the appearance of good rather when the person is exercising himself in the Illuminative Life, which corresponds to the Exercises of the Second Week, and not so much in the Purgative Life, which corresponds to those of the First.

Eleventh Annotation. The eleventh: It is helpful to him who is receiving the Exercises in the First Week, not to know anything of what he is to do in the Second, but so to labor in the First to attain the object he is seeking as if he did not hope to find in the Second any good.

Twelfth Annotation. The twelfth: As he who is receiving the Exercises is to give an hour to each of the five Exercises or Contemplations which will be made every day, he who is giving the Exercises has to warn him carefully to always see that his soul remains content in the consciousness of having been a full hour in the Exercise, and rather more than less. For the enemy is not a little used to try and make one cut short the hour of such contemplation, meditation or prayer.

Thirteenth Annotation. The thirteenth: It is likewise to be remarked that, as, in the time of consolation, it is easy and not irksome to be in contemplation the full hour, so it is very hard in the time of desolation to fill it out. For this reason, the person who is exercising himself, in order to act against the desolation and conquer the temptations, ought always to stay somewhat more than the full hour; so as to accustom himself not only to resist the adversary, but even to overthrow him.

Fourteenth Annotation. The fourteenth: If he who is giving the Exercises sees that he who is receiving them is going on in consolation and with much fervor, he ought to warn him not to make any inconsiderate and hasty promise or vow: and the more light of character he knows him to be, the more he ought to warn and admonish him. For, though one may justly influence another to embrace the religious life, in which he is understood to make vows of obedience, poverty and chastity, and, although a good work done under vow is more meritorious than one done without it, one should carefully consider the circumstances and personal qualities of the individual and how much help or hindrance he is likely to find in fulfilling the thing he would want to promise.

Fifteenth Annotation. The fifteenth: He who is giving the Exercises ought not to influence him who is receiving them more to poverty or to a promise, than to their opposites, nor more to one state or way of life than to another. For though, outside the Exercises, we can lawfully and with merit influence every one who is probably fit to choose continence, virginity, the religious life and all manner of evangelical perfection, still in the Spiritual Exercises, when seeking the Divine Will, it is more fitting and much better, that the Creator and Lord Himself should communicate Himself to His devout soul, inflaming it with His love and praise, and disposing it for the way in which it will be better able to serve Him in future. So, he who is giving the Exercises should not turn or incline to one side or the other, but standing in the centre like a balance, leave the Creator to act immediately with the creature, and the creature with its Creator and Lord.

Sixteenth Annotation. The sixteenth: For this -- namely, that the Creator and Lord may work more surely in His creature -- it is very expedient, if it happens that the soul is attached or inclined to a thing inordinately, that one should move himself, putting forth all his strength, to come to the contrary of what he is wrongly drawn to. Thus if he inclines to seeking and possessing an office or benefice, not for the honor and glory of God our Lord, nor for the spiritual well-being of souls, but for his own temporal advantage and interests, he ought to excite his feelings to the contrary, being instant in prayers and other spiritual exercises, and asking God our Lord for the contrary, namely, not to want such office or benefice, or any other thing, unless His Divine Majesty, putting his desires in order, change his first inclination for him, so that the motive for desiring or having one thing or another be only the service, honor, and glory of His Divine Majesty.

Seventeenth Annotation. The seventeenth: It is very helpful that he who is giving the Exercises, without wanting to ask or know from him who is receiving them his personal thoughts or sins, should be faithfully informed of the various movements and thoughts which the different spirits put in him. For, according as is more or less useful for him, he can give him some spiritual Exercises suited and adapted to the need of such a soul so acted upon.

Eighteenth Annotation. The eighteenth: The Spiritual Exercises have to be adapted to the dispositions of the persons who wish to receive them, that is, to their age, education or ability, in order not to give to one who is uneducated or of little intelligence things he cannot easily bear and profit by.

Again, that should be given to each one by which, according to his wish to dispose himself, he may be better able to help himself and to profit.

So, to him who wants help to be instructed and to come to a certain degree of contentment of soul, can be given the Particular Examen, p. 21, and then the General Examen, p. 25; also, for a half hour in the morning, the Method of Prayer on the Commandments, the Deadly Sins, etc., p. 125. Let him be recommended, also, to confess his sins every eight days, and, if he can, to receive the Blessed Sacrament every fifteen days, and better, if he be so moved, every eight. This way is more proper for illiterate or less educated persons. Let each of the Commandments be explained to them; and so of the Deadly Sins, Precepts of the Church, Five Senses, and Works of Mercy.

So, too, should he who is giving the Exercises observe that he who is receiving them has little ability or little natural capacity, from whom not much fruit is to be hoped, it is more expedient to give him some of these easy Exercises, until he confesses his sins. Then let him be given some Examens of Conscience and some method for going to Confession oftener than was his custom, in order to preserve what he has gained, but let him not go on into the matter of the Election, or into any other Exercises that are outside the First Week, especially when more progress can be made in other persons and there is not time for every thing.

Nineteenth Annotation. The nineteenth: A person of education or ability who is taken up with public affairs or suitable business, may take an hour and a half daily to exercise himself.

Let the end for which man is created be explained to him, and he can also be given for the space of a half-hour the Particular Examen and then the General and the way to confess and to receive the Blessed Sacrament. Let him, during three days every morning, for the space of an hour, make the meditation on the First, Second and Third Sins, pp. 37, 38; then, three other days at the same hour, the meditation on the statement of Sins, p. 40; then, for three other days at the same hour, on the punishments corresponding to Sins, p. 45. Let him be given in all three meditations the ten Additions, p. 47.

For the mysteries of Christ our Lord, let the same course be kept, as is explained below and in full in the Exercises themselves.

Twentieth Annotation. The twentieth: To him who is more disengaged, and who desires to get all the profit he can, let all the Spiritual Exercises be given in the order in which they follow.

In these he will, ordinarily, more benefit himself, the more he separates himself from all friends and acquaintances and from all earthly care, as by changing from the house where he was dwelling, and taking another house or room to live in, in as much privacy as he can, so that it be in his power to go each day to Mass and to Vespers, without fear that his acquaintances will put obstacles in his way.

From this isolation three chief benefits, among many others, follow.

The first is that a man, by separating himself from many friends and acquaintances, and likewise from many not well-ordered affairs, to serve and praise God our Lord, merits no little in the sight of His Divine Majesty.

The second is, that being thus isolated, and not having his understanding divided on many things, but concentrating his care on one only, namely, on serving his Creator and benefiting his own soul, he uses with greater freedom his natural powers, in seeking with diligence what he so much desires.

The third: the more our soul finds itself alone and isolated, the more apt it makes itself to approach and to reach its Creator and Lord, and the more it so approaches Him, the more it disposes itself to receive graces and gifts from His Divine and Sovereign Goodness.



to conquer oneself and 

regulate one’s life without

determining oneself through[4]

any tendency that is disordered


In order that both he who is giving the Spiritual Exercises, and he who is receiving them, may more help and benefit themselves, let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it. If he cannot save it, let him inquire how he means it; and if he means it badly, let him correct him with charity. If that is not enough, let him seek all the suitable means to bring him to mean it well, and save himself.



Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.

From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it.

For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.


It contains in it three times, and two to examine oneself.

The first time is in the morning, immediately on rising, when one ought to propose to guard himself with diligence against that particular sin or defect which he wants to correct and amend.

The second time is after dinner, when one is to ask of God our Lord what one wants, namely, grace to remember how many times he has fallen into that particular sin or defect, and to amend himself in the future. Then let him make the first Examen, asking account of his soul of that particular thing proposed, which he wants to correct and amend. Let him go over hour by hour, or period by period, commencing at the hour he rose, and continuing up to the hour and instant of the present examen, and let him make in the first line of the G------- as many dots as were the times he has fallen into that particular sin or defect. Then let him resolve anew to amend himself up to the second Examen which he will make.

The third time: After supper, the second Examen will be made, in the same way, hour by hour, commencing at the first Examen and continuing up to the present (second) one, and let him make in the second line of the same G------- as many dots as were the times he has fallen into that particular sin or defect.




First Addition. The first Addition is that each time one falls into that particular sin or defect, let him put his hand on his breast, grieving for having fallen: which can be done even in the presence of many, without their perceiving what he is doing.

Second Addition. The second: As the first line of the G------- means the first Examen, and the second line the second Examen, let him look at night if there is amendment from the first line to the second, that is, from the first Examen to the second.

Third Addition. The third: To compare the second day with the first; that is, the two Examens of the present day with the other two Examens of the previous day, and see if he has amended himself from one day to the other.

Fourth Addition. The fourth Addition: To compare one week with another, and see if he has amended himself in the present week over the week past.

Note. It is to be noted that the first (large) G------- which follows means the Sunday: the second (smaller), the Monday: the third, the Tuesday, and so on.










I presuppose that there are three kinds of thoughts in me: that is, one my own, which springs from my mere liberty and will; and two others, which come from without, one from the good spirit, and the other from the bad.


There are two ways of meriting in the bad thought which comes from without, namely:

First Way. A thought of committing a mortal sin, which thought I resist immediately and it remains conquered.

Second Way. The second way of meriting is: When that same bad thought comes to me and I resist it, and it returns to me again and again, and I always resist, until it is conquered.

This second way is more meritorious than the first.

A venial sin is committed when the same thought comes of sinning mortally and one gives ear to it, making some little delay, or receiving some sensual pleasure, or when there is some negligence in rejecting such thought.

There are two ways of sinning mortally:

First Way. The first is, when one gives consent to the bad thought, to act afterwards as he has consented, or to put it in act if he could.

Second Way. The second way of sinning mortally is when that sin is put in act.

This is a greater sin for three reasons: first, because of the greater time; second, because of the greater intensity; third, because of the greater harm to the two persons.


One must not swear, either by Creator or creature, if it be not with truth, necessity and reverence.

By necessity I mean, not when any truth whatever is affirmed with oath, but when it is of some importance for the good of the soul, or the body, or for temporal goods.

By reverence I mean when, in naming the Creator and Lord, one acts with consideration, so as to render Him the honor and reverence due.

It is to be noted that, though in an idle oath one sins more when he swears by the Creator than by the creature, it is more difficult to swear in the right way with truth, necessity and reverence by the creature than by the Creator, for the following reasons.

First Reason. The first: When we want to swear by some creature, wanting to name the creature does not make us so attentive or circumspect as to telling the truth, or as to affirming it with necessity, as would wanting to name the Lord and Creator of all things. 

Second Reason. The second is that in swearing by the creature it is not so easy to show reverence and respect to the Creator, as in swearing and naming the same Creator and Lord, because wanting to name God our Lord brings with it more respect and reverence than wanting to name the created thing. Therefore swearing by the creature is more allowable to the perfect than to the imperfect, because the perfect, through continued contemplation and enlightenment of intellect, consider, meditate and contemplate more that God our Lord is in every creature, according to His own essence, presence and power, and so in swearing by the creature they are more apt and prepared than the imperfect to show respect and reverence to their Creator and Lord.

Third Reason. The third is that in continually swearing by the creature, idolatry is to be more feared in the imperfect than in the perfect.

One must not speak an idle word. By idle word I mean one which does not benefit either me or another, and is not directed to that intention. Hence words spoken for any useful purpose, or meant to profit one’s own or another’s soul, the body or temporal goods, are never idle, not even if one were to speak of something foreign to one’s state of life, as, for instance, if a religious speaks of wars or articles of trade; but in all that is said there is merit in directing well, and sin in directing badly, or in speaking idly.

Nothing must be said to injure another’s character or to find fault, because if I reveal a mortal sin that is not public, I sin mortally; if a venial sin, venially; and if a defect, I show a defect of my own.

But if the intention is right, in two ways one can speak of the sin or fault of another:

First Way. The first: When the sin is public, as in the case of a public prostitute, and of a sentence given in judgment, or of a public error which is infecting the souls with whom one comes in contact.

Second Way. Second: When the hidden sin is revealed to some person that he may help to raise him who is in sin -- supposing, however, that he has some probable conjectures or grounds for thinking that he will be able to help him.


Taking the Ten Commandments, the Precepts of the Church and the recommendations of Superiors, every act done against any of these three heads is, according to its greater or less nature, a greater or a lesser sin.

By recommendations of Superiors I mean such things as Bulls de Cruzadas and other Indulgences, as for instance for peace, granted under condition of going to Confession and receiving the Blessed Sacrament. For one commits no little sin in being the cause of others acting contrary to such pious exhortations and recommendations of our Superiors, or in doing so oneself.



It contains in it five Points.

First Point. The first Point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the benefits received.

Second Point. The second, to ask grace to know our sins and cast them out.

Third Point. The third, to ask account of our soul from the hour that we rose up to the present Examen, hour by hour, or period by period: and first as to thoughts, and then as to words, and then as to acts, in the same order as was mentioned in the Particular Examen.

Fourth Point. The fourth, to ask pardon of God our Lord for the faults.

Fifth Point. The fifth, to purpose amendment with His grace. 

Our Father


Whoever, of his own accord, wants to make a General Confession, will, among many other advantages, find three in making it here.

First. The first: Though whoever goes to Confession every year is not obliged to make a General Confession, by making it there is greater profit and merit, because of the greater actual sorrow for all the sins and wickedness of his whole life.

Second. The second: In the Spiritual Exercises, sins and their malice are understood more intimately, than in the time when one was not so giving himself to interior things. Gaining now more knowledge of and sorrow for them, he will have greater profit and merit than he had before.

Third. The third is: In consequence, having made a better Confession and being better disposed, one finds himself in condition and prepared to receive the Blessed Sacrament: the reception of which is an aid not only not to fall into sin, but also to preserve the increase of grace.

This General Confession will be best made immediately after the Exercises of the First Week.





It contains in it, after one Preparatory Prayer and two Preludes, three chief Points and one Colloquy.

Prayer. The Preparatory Prayer is to ask grace of God our Lord that all my intentions, actions and operations may be directed purely to the service and praise of His Divine Majesty.

First Prelude. The First Prelude is a composition, seeing the place.

Here it is to be noted that, in a visible contemplation or meditation -- as, for instance, when one contemplates Christ our Lord, Who is visible -- the composition will be to see with the sight of the imagination the corporeal place where the thing is found which I want to contemplate. I say the corporeal place, as for instance, a Temple or Mountain where Jesus Christ or Our Lady is found, according to what I want to contemplate. In an invisible contemplation or meditation -- as here on the Sins -- the composition will be to see with the sight of the imagination and consider that my soul is imprisoned in this corruptible body, and all the compound in this valley, as exiled among brute beasts: I say all the compound of soul and body.

Second Prelude. The second is to ask God our Lord for what I want and desire.

The petition has to be according to the subject matter; that is, if the contemplation is on the Resurrection, one is to ask for joy with Christ in joy; if it is on the Passion, he is to ask for pain, tears and torment with Christ in torment.

Here it will be to ask shame and confusion at myself, seeing how many have been damned for only one mortal sin, and how many times I deserved to be condemned forever for my so many sins.

Note. Before all Contemplations or Meditations, there ought always to be made the Preparatory Prayer, which is not changed, and the two Preludes already mentioned, which are sometimes changed, according to the subject matter.

First Point. The first Point will be to bring the memory on the First Sin, which was that of the Angels, and then to bring the intellect on the same, discussing it; then the will, wanting to recall and understand all this in order to make me more ashamed and confound me more, bringing into comparison with the one sin of the Angels my so many sins, and reflecting, while they for one sin were cast into Hell, how often I have deserved it for so many.

I say to bring to memory the sin of the Angels, how they, being created in grace, not wanting to help themselves with their liberty to reverence and obey their Creator and Lord, coming to pride, were changed from grace to malice, and hurled from Heaven to Hell; and so then to discuss more in detail with the intellect: and then to move the feelings more with the will.

Second Point. The second is to do the same -- that is, to bring the Three Powers -- on the sin of Adam and Eve, bringing to memory how on account of that sin they did penance for so long a time, and how much corruption came on the human race, so many people going the way to Hell.

I say to bring to memory the Second Sin, that of our First Parents; how after Adam was created in the field of Damascus and placed in the Terrestrial Paradise, and Eve was created from his rib, being forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, they ate and so sinned, and afterwards clothed in tunics of skins and cast from Paradise, they lived, all their life, without the original justice which they had lost, and in many labors and much penance. And then to discuss with the understanding more in detail; and to use the will as has been said.

Third Point. The third is likewise to do the same on the Third particular Sin of any one who for one mortal sin is gone to Hell -- and many others without number, for fewer sins than I have committed.

I say to do the same on the Third particular Sin, bringing to memory the gravity and malice of the sin against one’s Creator and Lord; to discuss with the understanding how in sinning and acting against the Infinite Goodness, he has been justly condemned forever; and to finish with the will as has been said.

Colloquy. Imagining Christ our Lord present and placed on the Cross, let me make a Colloquy, how from Creator He is come to making Himself man, and from life eternal is come to temporal death, and so to die for my sins.

Likewise, looking at myself, what I have done for Christ, what I am doing for Christ, what I ought to do for Christ.

And so, seeing Him such, and so nailed on the Cross, to go over that which will present itself.

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.

And let me say an Our Father.

[1]The word Annotation does not occur in the original after the first time.   The same is true of similar cases in the Mss.

[2]Offering is in St. Ignatius' handwriting, correcting giving or presenting, which is crossed out.

[3]May make use of . . . according is in the Saint's hand­writing, correcting some word erased.

[4]Without determining oneself through is in the Saint's hand, the words being inserted between life and tendency, the word without being cancelled.

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