Three Roles: Friend of God, Giver of First Exercises, Spiritual Conversation Guide
In the First Spiritual Exercises ministry, you have three identities and roles: Friend of God, Spiritual Conversation Guide and Giver of the First Spiritual Exercises. You are already a friend of God and, as a receiver or giver of the FSE, this friendship will deepen and grow. The second two roles are the two core ministries of the First Spiritual Exercises.
These three roles are represented in the structure of the FSE Manual, a section for each, training you in each one of these identities. See the contents of the Manual on the page you have just left.
The First Spiritual Exercises is all about receiving and giving. Ignatius speaks of this receiving and giving in his great prayer of love and freedom:
Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding
and my entire will,
all that I have and possess.
You gave it all to me; to you I return it.
All is yours; dispose of it according to your will,
Give me only your love and your grace
That is enough for me.
This is the language used in the Manual. You are the “giver” of the First Spiritual Exercises. The person making the retreat, or praying an exercise, is the “receiver”. So, in the First Spiritual Exercises, there are three lives that ‘give and receive’ together: Jesus, you and your receiver.
Echoing the words of Jesus, whoever receives you, receives the First Spiritual Exercises, and whoever receives the First Spiritual Exercises, receives Jesus, and the one who sends you, his Father or the Spirit of God (John 13:20).