It began with a Spanish nobleman.
In 1521, Inigo Lopez de Loyola — who’d become Ignatius of Loyola — was a knight wounded in the battle of Pamploma in Spain.
Ignatius suffered a shattered leg in the fight and would face a full year of recovery. During that time, he asked for something to read. The only things available were materials on the life of Christ and the lives of the saints.
As he read, the knight imagined Jesus talking about the Gospel and what was on his heart.
“It gave him peace and it filled his heart with joy,” said the Rev. Thomas Leitner, Order of St. Benedict.
And it would be the start of some spiritual exercises which Leitner said have helped thousands of people deepen their relationship with God.
Leitner is administrator of the St. Benedict Center near Schuyler, a place where retreats are held and people go for quiet contemplation.
In June, the public is invited to an Ignatian retreat by the Rev. Larry Gillick.
The retreat is titled: “Spiritual Resistance.”
“(Gillick) will talk about how, sometimes, we are not completely open to hearing what the Lord wants to tell us,” Leitner said. “There’s resistance in us, because perhaps we feel there is a next step we need to take.”
And that step may be a challenging one.
“So the retreat will be about gently guiding the participants in noting their inner resistances against the call of Jesus to them,” Leitner said.
The retreat begins at 6 p.m. June 13 and ends after lunch June 16. The program fee is $80; room and board are additional.
At the retreat, participants will be in two presentations in which the prayer will be guided. The Eucharistic liturgy will be celebrated each day and there will be an optional Friday and Saturday evening session for shared recollections and questionings.
The basic belief is that God reverences and labors with our human resistances as a sculptor reverences the resistance of the clay, center information states.
Ignatius of Loyola is the founder of the Jesuit order. He is the father of the modern retreat movement and wrote a book, called “Spiritual Exercises.”
“One suggestion Ignatius makes in this booklet is that when we pray with a particular passage from Holy Scripture, we also imagine what happens in the scene,” Leitner said, adding, “It works especially well with Gospel stories.”
For instance, a person might imagine what he or she sees, hears, smells or feels in a particular scene.
Leitner can imagine the scene of Jesus preaching at Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee.
“I picture him standing there, the crowd. I listen to Jesus. I may smell the fish, because fish are being caught by the lake and sold in the market there. In this scene, I’m in the audience and this really helps me to become part of what’s happening and to hear Jesus’ words as directed to me,” Leitner said.
Gillick was ordained as a priest in 1972. His former assignments include serving as spiritual director for the younger Jesuits, rector of the Jesuit community at Creighton Prep in Omaha and superior of Mulumba House.
He now serves as director of the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality at Creighton University. He is a spiritual director of students, faculty and alumni at Creighton.
For more information, call the St. Benedict Center at 402-352-8819 or visit www.StBenedictCenter.com