THe First Spiritual Exercises

What are the First Spiritual Exercises?

Interested in the Spiritual Exercises but 30 days feels too ambitious right now?  Want a taste without such a long term commitment?

The Full Spiritual Exercises are like a long distance hike for a bushwalker or a marathon for a runner.  In contrast, the First Spiritual Exercises are like a day walk or a few rounds of the oval.

Both require effort.  Each are chosen to suit the capacity of the person.  Both are deeply satisfying and highly beneficial.

Ignatius instructed that you could make the Spiritual Exercises in two ways.  Firstly, as  the Full Spiritual Exercises (see previous page.) Secondly, as the First Spiritual Exercises. You can make these prayer exercises either in a residential retreat setting or in daily life.

How are the First Spiritual Exercises Offered?

These exercises are offered as one of four retreats.  Each can be taken independently of the other.  Nor does is matter which order they are taken in.

The common thread in each retreat is the gift of inner peace.

The difference between each retreat is the particular desire – whether that be my desire to:

  • experience divine love.
  • live in the light of mercy, healing, or freedom.
  • grow in friendship with Jesus.
  • be of service to others.

The retreatant chooses which retreat according to their desire or need.

Each retreat offers daily prayer through four weeks, Monday to Thursday, and includes Sunday Eucharist and a weekend exercise.

The exercises we learn in this retreat can be used for the rest of our lives.

the First Spiritual Exercises: Four Guided Retreats


A retreatant needs to purchase their own copy of the book “The First Spiritual Exercises: Four Guided Retreats,” (Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 2013)

The Australian spiritual director and writer, Michael Hansen, S.J. adapted these Ignatian exercises for contemporary times.



Choose a retreat

  1. Inner Peace in Divine Love

The first retreat is based in the Ignatian exercise called the “Contemplation for Attaining Divine Love.” This retreat brings me into a loving relationship with God, where we both desire to give and receive from each other.

  1. Inner Peace in Darkness and Light

The second retreat is for those living with an experience of “darkness.” For example, this could be a period of suffering, a chronic illness or a sense of disorder or un-freedom. God encounters me in that darkness and enlivens me there.  Alternatively, God calls me into the light.

  1. Inner Peace in Friendship with Jesus

The third retreat develops my friendship with Jesus. Ignatius lived in friendship with Jesus and encourages us to do the same.

  1. Inner Peace in the Service of God

The fourth retreat explores service with God. Enjoying my relationship with God is central. Living that relationship in my faith, the Christian community and social service is unpacked. It concludes with making a plan for an active and faithful life.

Curious to learn more?

Contact me today to book a free 20 minute spiritual direction phone conversation.
Together we can explore what spiritual direction could offer you.
If I am not the best fit for you, I can connect you to other spiritual directors.

Spiritual direction is offered in person from Heidelberg, Melbourne, or online.