St. Ignatius was clear on the nature of the Spiritual Exercises and their benefits: “By the term “Spiritual Exercises” we mean every method of examination of conscience, meditation, contemplation, vocal or mental prayer, and other spiritual activities, such as will be mentioned later. For just as taking a walk, traveling on foot, and running are physical exercise, so is the name of spiritual exercises given to any means of preparing and disposing our soul to rid itself of all its disordered affections and then, after their removal, of seeking and finding God’s will in the ordering of our life for the salvation of the soul.”
St. Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises
Eastern Point retreats allow participants to step away from busy lives and enter into a quiet and safe place where they can shed spiritually troubling matters. The retreatant in this very special place, with warm and caring professional direction, becomes more consistently able to love others and themselves the way God loves us. This embodiment of love carries over to family and to community of worship.
How one relates to others is very much a part of the retreat conversation. A major point of the Exercises is to be transforming of individual and community: we are helping to form persons for others. The social aspects of faith are very much a part of the Exercises as we practice them.
Returning to a place of business, to home, or to a worship community, the retreatant is reinvigorated with renewed commitment to family values and justice values alongside the need to give voice to those who have none.
Retreatants learn to make better choices in their lives and in relating to the lives of others. As a person becomes more aware of how God sees her/him, that awareness can gradually permeate the choices a person makes in ordinary life.
People end up knowing God and self at a deeper level. Most go away with sense of how loved they are by God. They leave with a sense of peace.