Third Phase: Confirming


Where are you going, climbing higher

Barren peaks?

You look tired, heavy.

What do you want to do?

Lie down amidst flowers?

What is lower, what is higher?

All is effort.

Just stand tiredly.

Too worn to collapse for

Fear it will be permanent – and

In the wrong place.

But what other place?

Why not amidst flowers wonder.

A little lower, a little higher but

Away foolish ambitions.

Some effort, yes, but it is safe,

Known territory, rich in itself

Sometimes alone, but not always.

Oh, but to climb.

But not alone.


(Jon’s moose picture, - John)


After the demanding decision-making there is a feeling of relief, but the Exercises do not end there but continue with the living out of this choice, which becomes reality in the daily existence of the companions. The paschal mystery (the passion and the resurrection stories of the gospel) constitutes the material for the contemplations in the rest of the Exercises, which like a diptych is divided between the Third Phase that deals with the passion of Jesus and to the Fourth that leads us to the resurrection. The two sides of the paschal mystery is in fact the place where the companions’ existence unfolds in constant tension between suffering and joy. They are called to fidelity to their chosen way and lifestyle in these varying circumstances. Of this it is easily understood that the meaning of this last part of the Exercises is wider, and the underlying process necessarily leads out of the actual retreat period and unfolds later in the life of the companions. This interior process cannot be forced by the rhythm of the retreat only helped and stimulated in a certain extent [1]. The Exercises are a school of spiritual life, where the companions can experiment and prepare for the aftermath. During the retreat they can at least see how the way they began when made the choice will continue.

In the language of the classical spiritual theology, following the purgative or liberative (First Phase) and illuminative (Second Phase) stages we enter the unitive way, which extends to the Third as well as to the Fourth Phases. With other words, the unitive stage of spiritual growth and healing consists of the confirming (unitive way in pain) and transforming (unitive way in joy) processes when the companions “confirm” their choice to be transformed in active participants of the saving work of Christ continuing the dynamic of the Kingdom [91-99] and the Two Standards [136-149] meditations [2]. The mystical union with Christ to which the Exercises bring the companions will be lived - -just like the bond of human marriage “in good and bad” - in the ordinary reality of their daily life, not prevalently in the safety their prayer and fantasy. St. Ignatius gave a great importance to this confirmation and he considered it a supreme gift from God, who guarantees our decision taken for him, giving us the necessary certitude, light and strength to live out our choice faithfully. St. Ignatius writes this prayer in “His Spiritual Journal”: “Eternal Father, confirm me; Eternal Son, confirm me; Eternal Holy Spirit, confirm me; My God, Who are One God, confirm me”[3]. The concrete decision the companions made during the Exercises is in fact identification with Christ and the fidelity to it leads to share the destiny of him. The union with Christ means the acceptance of the consequences as shown in the meditation on the “Third degree of the love of God” [165-168], which means real suffering, interior struggle, fear, loneliness, misunderstanding and rejection, even imprisonment or death. Maybe these consequences will become evident right after the decision; maybe later in time or after series of ulterior decisions that lead to confrontation; the companions cannot know it beforehand. Often the grace of the “Third degree of the love of God” is achieved during the Third Phase or at least one arrives to want to desire this grace [4]. So, even if the companions don’t feel ready for this grace they can continue with the Exercises without hesitation, since entering in the contemplation of the paschal mystery in any case might be beneficial for their spiritual growth and healing. However, it should be left always open how the union with Christ in his suffering will realize in the life of the companions, since God should choose the concrete form for them [5]. Through the perseverance in this struggle and even experiencing impotence against the forces of evil the way of the union with Christ leads in some form to resurrection for the companions, too.

As we told earlier the graphic illustration of the process of spiritual growth and healing is a spiral, slowly rising upward, going through more times over the same coordinates but every time on a higher level [6]. Each of these turns of the spiral involves “turning-from” destructive tendencies and “turning-toward” life-giving and healthy ways, similarly to the conversion processes as described in Christotherapy [7]. While the First Phase consisted more of the “turning-from”, and the Second Phase of the “turning-toward” movement, the Third and Fourth Phases again will go through respectively the same cycle, but in a different context and with new nuances. After the Exercises itself the companions will not stop but continue to advance along this spiral of the ongoing spiritual growth, conversion and healing, sufferings and joys, sometimes living times when “turning-from” sin and unhealthy attitudes will be necessary other times when “turning-toward” new ways of living will be dominant.

The goal of the Third Phase in this dynamic is to confirm the decision of the companions while contemplating the passion of Jesus. The decision will be always in their mind during this phase as they question how to live with it, where it will bring them and so on, and as they pray to be able to carry it out. The grace of this phase is compassion (“cum-pati”: to suffer with, together), shame and sorrow because of the suffering of Christ. When we speak of the suffering of Christ we should always keep in mind that it encompasses not only the historical passion of Jesus but the sufferings of the companions themselves as well as the continuing passion of the members of humanity with which Jesus identified himself, the poor, the abandoned, the tortured, the oppressed and powerless in our present world. Rightly understood, the compassion with Christ we ask here does not mean neither having pious, uplifting feelings about our own imagination of the passion story nor to suffer as Jesus suffered but to live and die authentically today as he did in his time. As Henri Nouwen so clearly expressed it: “When the imitation of Christ does not mean to live a life like Christ, but to live your life as authentically as Christ lived his, then there are many ways and forms in which a man can be a Christian” [8].

During the Exercises first we are called to realize our sinfulness as cause of the passion, and later accept suffering as the condition of adhering to the value system of Christ, but now the viewpoint of the contemplations is different since we are called to compassion, to suffer and die with Christ. The compassion with Christ during the Third Phase however will not be easy, since St. Ignatius wants the exercitant to remember that Jesus suffered “for my sins” [193]. It is difficult to experience sincere compassion if one is aware to be the cause of the suffering. In consequence instead of experiencing strong feelings the prayer of the companions might be unusually dry, emotionless. Another cause of this dryness might be that coming out of the demanding Second Phase the companions are psychologically exhausted. Also, we should remember that we asked to experience what Jesus lived in his passion and he probably did not received too much consolation during the passion [9]. These hardships during the contemplations probably indicate that the companions already received the grace they asked for and in a different form than anticipated; in fact these experiences are part of dying with Christ.

The death of every person is a unique unrepeatable event [10], one is not able to study or exercise it before the physical death and in consequence it is fearsome, mysterious event. Yet there is the possibility to anticipate the event of dying at least in the acts when the individual gives up asserting oneself [11]. Dying with Christ is possible in this sense. It is used in the Scriptures for the paradox conditions of Christian life; for example St. Paul who says that we are “always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body” (2Cor 4:10) and “if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in resurrection” (Rom 6:5). As Karl Rahner points out: “It remains true that death is just the way life was, and that the person only concretizes in his death the full meaning of the ‘detachment’ spoken of in the Foundation of the Exercises. Therefore, in a very true sense death is actually anticipated in every moral act in which the higher and more distant goal is preferred to the lower, nearer, and more pleasant one”[12].

Preparing ourselves for death is not a morbid way of thinking, rather the exclusion or avoidance of death is the unhealthy attitude since death along with suffering and trouble belongs to life as integral part of it. Not only that death is unavoidable but also it also is an important factor in the meaningfulness of life and has a meaning in itself [13]. The fact that we will die one day forces us to decide and act while if we were immortal we could with right postpone things forever and escape our responsibility to choose. A parable used in existential analysis (the practice of logotherapy) to render patients conscious of their responsibility illustrates the role of finality in giving meaning to life. In this method – which recalls the advice St. Ignatius gives for the third situation of making a decision in [186] – the doctor suggests the patient to pretend reading his or her own biography at the end of life. Then the patient imagines to arrive to the chapter dealing with the actual present time and by a miracle has the power to decide about the contents of the following pages and so realize that he or she still has the power to make corrections in life and responsibility for how the next day or month or year will look like. To illustrate the historicity of life, Frankl also instructs the patient to imagine his or her life as a movie just being shot without the possibility to cut anything of it. He resembles human life also to that of a sculptor who hammers the stone to bring out of it more and more form. So one is working on the matter of possibilities life presents for him or her, sometimes creating things, or experiencing or loving, other times suffering, the individual tries to hammer out values of the same life. There is limited time for the sculptor to finish the work, but it is not known when the deadline arrives and he is called away. He tries to do in consequence to use time very well and it might happen that the work remains “unfinished”. One similarly does not know when death “calls away” him or her but must be ready for it in any moment. If time is run out before the work is completed, it will not render it worthless. Let us think of Michelangelo’s beautiful and never completed “Rondanini Pieta” or some unfinished symphonies of classical music. Neither is a biography judged by the number of pages in it but by the contents and consequently life’s meaningfulness does not depend on its length [14].

The Third Phase of the Exercises in particular teaches the companions to realize that suffering which seems useless and meaningless in fact becomes source of value and life not only for them but for others as well. Suffering is an essential part of human existence – has a place of honor in life as Frankl would say - so much that trying to avoid it is a neurotic attempt and the capacity of suffering is one of the characteristics of healthy human psyche. Through this capacity we discover life’s unconditional meaningfulness. Meaning of life can be found not only in creative or experiential values (in working or enjoying) but when these are no longer possible in realizing attitudinal values, that is through the attitude that is taken toward suffering. “It is through attitudinal values that even the negative, tragic aspects of human existence, or what I call the ‘tragic triad’ –pain, guilt and death- may be turned into something positive and creative” [15]. The lack of success or the tragic character does not render meaningless one’s life, but can be transformed into personal achievement by growing up to the challenge it represents. Suffering even takes on redemptive value when it becomes sacrifice, a suffering out of love and so it can be vicariously fruitful for others. St. Paul expressed this possibility in the letter to the Colossians: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking of the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Col 1:24)[16].

Through the realization of attitudinal values one turns suffering into an occasion for personal growth, but besides this factor, suffering has a meaning in itself. As Frankl pointed out [17], while suffering of something, we interiorly distance ourselves from it and live in a tension between what is and what ought to be. In this fruitful tension we are able to contemplate the ideal that would escape our vision if we remain immersed in and identified with reality as it is. Envisioning the ideal, the world as it ought to be is a value in itself created in the crucible of suffering.

Since through suffering we interiorly distance ourselves from things, we are aided in the freedom spoken of in the “Principle and Foundation” [23] and so suffering at least indirectly helps us to fulfill our human vocation. Further, the vision of the ideal while enduring the suffering between things as they are and as they ought to be is a necessary factor for living the spiritual discernment. Only in this perspective of the ideal we can make judgment about options to choose from and decide about the direction we want to move.

Through this understanding of suffering we can recognize for example the meaning of repentance that seems useless on a utilitarian level, since nothing what was done can be canceled from our life as if never had happen. Still, by repentance this external event can be erased on the moral and spiritual level. We can distance ourselves interiorly from the wrongdoing and become different persons. Even in the extreme case, if at the end of life one realizes that everything was wrong and life wasted away, the moment of recognition of what might have been will create meaning for this person’s life.

Suffering on the psycho-spiritual level has a similar function as pain in the physical, biological dimension of life. Similarly as pain signals possible danger, distress like guilt or trouble helps to remain alive psychologically and spiritually. Suffering in this way leads us to amend whatever is possible or to endure it when nothing left to do. Finally this passive enduring of the unavoidable constitutes the immanent meaning of suffering. Only when unavoidable, suffering becomes one’s cross to take on, only when nothing left to do enduring is the right and meaningful attitude that becomes a moral achievement. We see the history of Church witnessing that the efforts to alleviate human suffering in all of its forms always was present together with the teaching on the redemptive value of suffering and bearing one’s cross. The passive endurance of the authentic cross is not something willed but accepted, and besides being meaningful for the individual who grows and matures through this suffering, it becomes fruitful for others. It is a mystery that cannot be adequately grasped or described. The suffering suffered authentically is a value that is there, available and cannot be canceled any more from our personal history which is intimately connected with the history of every man and woman ever lived and to live. If somebody somewhere has seen and understood the truth and wanted the good the world will not be the same any more but richer and truer. Thus the Third Phase as difficult, dry and meaningless as the companions might feel, it can be proved the most fruitful of all up to this point in the exercises process.

The difficulties that the companions might experience during this Phase are in connection with the fact that they find themselves in a situation very similar to Jesus in the contemplated events of passion. They have made their decision which identified them with the way of Christ and now awaits to be lived out just as for Jesus when he arrived to the fulfillment of his mission, to “his hour” (Jn 13:1). The companions probably will experience temptation to give up the decision they made as invalid and begin the process again, seeking for new solutions. They might perceive now the consequences of the decision as too demanding or terrifying. It is a time when the return is still possible, and the emerging doubts cause anxiety, confusion and pain similarly to the agony of Jesus in the Gethsemane. They might see now numerous new factors and a new sequence of thoughts that confuse the clarity they had at the moment of the choice and this can cause strong anxiety of which it seems, only abandoning the decision can offer relief.

In this situation the companions need steadfastness in the decision made and resist to the doubts and false reasons now emerging. They should remember not to confuse the goal of this Phase when they are called to live with their choice with the aim of the precedent one and return to seek a decision. During the Second Phase they made sure to choose properly and now they need stand firm in it. Before entering in the contemplations of the passion it might be helpful to share their decision with somebody the companions trust if they can do it. This person cannot end for them the confusion or doubts but could help them to remain steadfast notwithstanding experiencing this anguish.

Whether the companions have such outside help or not they need to use discernment in order to remain firm during the more or less strong temptations experienced in this Phase. St. Ignatius gave guidelines for the discernment for the First and Second Phase (Appendix C [313-327] and [328-336]), but did not mention special rules neither for the Third nor the Fourth Phases. As Alex Lefrank points out, from the arrangement of the material in the book of the Spiritual Exercises the “Notes Concerning Scruples” [345-351] might be connected with the Third Phase [18]. The Third Phase requires steadfastness on the part of the companions in the decision recognized earlier as the right one resisting all the arguments against it, and this is a somewhat similar situation to the First Phase when perseverance was necessary against temptations to abandon the Exercises process, the “Guidelines for Discernment for the First Phase” [313-327] dealing with the recognition of the power of evil are useful also here.

The concrete unfolding of the inner process of this Phase might take very different for the companions depending their personal history, sensitivity and similar reasons. In any case in one form or other of suffering will be involved for everyone not only in this Phase but in life for which the Exercises prepare the companions. The distress in certain cases can reach extreme proportions, not only to give up the decision or the entire Exercises, but even despair and depression, an experience of overwhelming guilt, and feeling rejected by God. In this time of suffering the companions are called to persevere in faith and draw support from the experience of the Church before them. Properly understood, this suffering is part of the grace of this Phase and it means the intimate experience of the contemplated passion of Christ. Living and persevering in faith without consolation is a known part of the spiritual life and corresponds to what St. John of the Cross calls the “dark night of the soul”. Often only praying with vocal prayer that has been written by others remains possible, as reciting the Psalms or still more simple prayers as the “Our Father”, the “Hail Mary” or asking the help of saints. For situations like this it might be helpful to use the “Third Method of Prayer” [258-260] from Appendix A.

In the Third Phase of the Exercises it becomes explicit the presence of destructive forces that work against the entire process and in fact against the existence of the companions. Satan is the parable of these forces, a personal reality who stands behind every evil in this world. Alex Lefrank refers to Satan with the biblical expression “power of darkness” (Lk 22:53) reviewing shortly the work of this force during the course of the Exercises [19]. In fact, one of the most effective tactics of Satan is to remain hidden, in the background and in the shadows of reality. The Exercises process presents a time to learn how to discern the work of this power, deal with it without fear and use also the tactics of the “enemy” - as Ignatius calls Satan - to proceed on our way toward God.

In the beginning of the process the companions meet this force in the form of obstacles that try to deter them from entering the Exercises. Then they will experience disturbing questions or doubts about spending time and energy with this prayer and reflection instead of “normal” life. They might experience reluctance, boredom and even repugnance toward the exercises while feeling the attraction toward many other possible things to do. If the companions resist and proceed in the First Phase, the attack arrives as discouragement, depression, false guilt and confusion. All these obstacles are of psychological character, and the real source of them remains in the background. Through this “smokescreen” tactics Satan makes believe that the companions deal only with reality as it is. Using the light of discernment the companions are however able to see through the blindness and notice this power who is able to influence psychological dimension of the human person.

During the Second Phase the misleading work of Satan takes on new form, trying to hide under the appearance of good, appealing on the generosity, good intentions and former achievements of the companions. Through exaggeration on these points they insist to do more and more, until arrive to a breaking point and experience rejection toward the whole effort as fallacious. In consequence they give up following this way at all or need to return to the beginning of the process toward a decision, loosing precious time. It is still more dangerous for the companions if they are successful in the exaggerated ambitions. Instead of focusing on God they become centered on themselves and their own achievements as a prize to gain in order to grow in power. This “power” is the “most extreme perversion” of Christianity [20]. We could say that it is a distortion of the deepest meaning of our humanity, too. Karl Rahner says with poetic strength that Christ “is the culminating point of mankind that I seek from the bottom of my heart, even if I never heard the name of Jesus. For I am essentially ordered to the concrete One that I can love and serve absolutely. But I can only do that with regard to a living Thou – I cannot do it with regard to abstract principles! Nor can I love and serve myself alone. If I try to do that, then I necessarily make an idol of my own reality, and therefore fall into my own finiteness, into my own vacuum and condemned emptiness”[21].

Such self-centered attitude renders the victims of it sharply judgmental toward mistakes of others while getting blind to their own pride and so they serve the plans of Satan who knowing the final futility of his efforts acts out of hatred and despair. The danger to fall into this trap is growing with the progress in the spiritual life. Maybe one thinks they can arrive to an authentic capacity of commitment, sacrifice and discipline, even if she looses the focus on God as the living Thou whom we are called to love and serve. Instead of growing in the consciousness of being dependent on God in everything this person places his or her own ego in the center and feels to make progress by his or her own strength. Thus this person misses the goal of his or her life since we are not called for greater power and self-satisfaction but to deeper union with God.

Once one falls into the pit of self-centeredness still one can receive the grace of conversion since God will continue to call this person through the events of life, maybe through crises that can wake up and save him or her from closing himself or herself in this isolation. This happens in a way similar to the action of God through pangs of conscience and crisis in the basic guideline of the discernment in [314-315] - even if here we have a person who tries to seek the good.

One of the means to guard against this trap during the Second Phase is the threefold prayer as given in the “Two Standards” meditation [147] at the end of most of the prayer sessions leading to the decision. This continuous prayer helps to maintain the consciousness that the choice the companions can make is indeed a gift which they receive together with the capability to persevere in it.

In the Third Phase Satan again tries to disguise himself as an “angel of light”, when through doubts and new reasons concerning the decision the companions made, by insisting on reevaluating and repeating the process seemingly promotes the good. “Here we encounter a typical tactic of the adversary: he always uses the correct way of acting of the phase immediately preceding[22]. The search for the best option belongs to the Second Phase, once the companions properly ended it and passed to the next stage of the Exercises, it is no longer time for evaluate arguments but they are called to persevere in the choice made. If the companions resist to the mounting pressure against their decision Satan will come to the open by bringing more or less intense suffering on the companions. It will be clear that following the course they chose means suffering for the time being and relief seemingly could come only through abandoning it.

Everything seems like futile acts and there is no help or protection against this assault. We should not forget however that there is a dimension that Satan cannot reach; he is not able to touch the innermost core of the human person and take away the possibility of free decision. Freedom of will is a fundamental characteristic of the human person created by God in the Christian anthropology and one of the basic tenets on which the system of logotherapy is based besides the will to meaning and the meaning of life. Human freedom is limited and conditioned but the circumstances do not condition it completely. We are not free from the conditions of life but are free for something, are free to take a stand in front of all circumstances. Illustrating the ultimate capability of the human person to defy the worst conditions possible Viktor Frankl refers to the experience of the concentration camps where among the same deprivations some became saints while others succumbed to subhuman behavior thus showing the falsity of the Freudian supposition that the uniform experience of hunger will cancel all the personal differences and only the uniform expression of the urge [23]. The freedom of choosing an attitude toward all the conditions, including the psychological and pathological phenomenon remains always intact and in fact one chooses freely also when gives up and lets oneself to be determined. Thus even in the most excruciating torments the companions might go through during the confirming process of the Third Phase it remains possible for them to be victorious. Even if the presence of God is not felt, and all consolation is taken away there is enough grace for overcoming this situation similarly to what Ignatius says in [320] about desolations.

After this introduction now we turn to the presentation of the exercises of the Third Phase, which is divided into periods similarly to the precedent, each of these consisting of two exercises, two repetitions and one “application of the senses”. The prayer in these exercises will be the Ignatian contemplation which for this time became familiar to the companions and due to the dynamics of the Second Phase it is significantly simplified form of being present in the gospel scene. Because of this familiarity the periods can be arranged with greater flexibility during the Third Phase, as in [209] St. Ignatius himself propones various possible arrangement of the periods and even suggests the series of contemplations omitting the repetitions and application of the senses. Given this freedom in the approach to this Phase we encourage the companions to arrange their retreat with the passion story in a way they feel more appropriate, and shorten or lengthen it as they wish according also to what is said in the “Note” [209].

We will follow the original outlay presented in the book of the Spiritual Exercises where the Third Phase consists of seven periods, six of which chronologically follows the events of the passion and the seventh contains a contemplation of the entire passion and considering “as frequently as possible” [208] the burial of Jesus, the weariness and sorrow of Mary and the disciples which we call “Waiting at the tomb of Jesus”. The companions might change the distribution of the gospel readings using Appendix B “The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus Christ” [289-298] and the Scriptures in order to pass more or less time with the passion. A different approach to structure the Phase is to have the first period as in the original version, on the Last Supper and the Gethsemane followed by four periods spent with the entire passion story from the four gospels and ended with one period “Waiting at the tomb of Jesus” [24].

After the detailed presentation of the exercises of the First Period and some notes in [204-207] on how to create a helpful climate and proceed with the exercises for the following periods we give only the material to use in the contemplations. At the end of the presentation of this Phase [210-217] contains “Guidelines with regard of Eating” which sounds surprising at this juncture of the Exercises but in fact are important part of the Exercises and equally meaningful if the companions live in an affluent as well as in a poor society. The underlying view is that the most common things of everyday life as eating and drinking are in fact spiritual realities and need to be arranged in connection with our faith in Christ. These guidelines give practically a model through the example of dealing with food how to order the companions entire life to God and should be read and reflected on time to time during the Third Phase.



[1] See this important insight of Alex Lefrank S.J. in Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, p. 111.

[2] Cf. Cowan-Futrell, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola,” p. 112.

[3] Quoted in the notes of Fr. Armand Nigro, S.J., “The Grace of Discernment of Spirits. Part V. The Practice of Discernment. Ignatian Rules for the Discernment of Spiriys, In the Light of the Spiritual Exercises” Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, p. 41.

[4] Ibid. p. 113 and p. 120.

[5] For this reason St. Ignatius does not permit neither to pry for martyrdom as a choice as pointed out in Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, p. 113.

[6] See [4] in our general presentation of the Phases of the Spiritual Exercises where we describe the distinguishable stages in the process of spiritual growth and healing.

[7] Cf. Tyrrell, “Christotherapy II,” pp. 3-6.

[8] Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Wounded Healer. Ministry in Contemporary Society, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday &Company, Inc., 1972) p. 103.

[9] Cf. Cowan-Futrell, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola,” p. 119.

[10] Karl Rahner uses the word “onceness” (“hapax” in Greek) for this characteristic of death in Rahner, “Spiritual Exercises,” p. 90.

[11] Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, pp. 130-131.

[12] Rahner, “Spiritual Exercises,” p. 90.

[13] Regarding the meaning of death see Frankl, “The Doctor and the Soul,” pp. 51-74.

[14] Cf. Ibid., pp. 52-54.

[15] Viktor Frankl, “The Unconscious God” (New York: Washington Square Press, 1985) p. 125. For a wider presentation of the meaning of suffering see Frankl, “The Doctor and the Soul”, pp. 84-93.

[16] Cf. Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, p. 131.

[17] Cf. Frankl, “The Doctor and the Soul”, p. 86-87.

[18] Cf. Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, p. 120. In Appendix C, after the “Guidelines for the Discernment” we find the “Guidelines to deal with material goods” [337-344] which is as we saw earlier a concrete example of the application of the third method of decision (see in [169-189] “Arriving to a Decision”) belonging to the Second Phase. Then the “Notes Concerning Scruples” follow and afterward the “Guidelines for the Right Attitude toward the Church or Sense of Church”. The latter considered belonging to the Fourth Phase, the guidelines for scruples might refer to the Third Phase if we suppose that Ignatius was arranging the material in this systematic manner.

[19] Ibid., pp.125-130.

[20] Cf. Ibid., p. 128.

[21] Rahner, “Spiritual Exercises,” p. 130.

[22] Lefrank – Giuliani, “Freedom for Service”, p. 129.

[23] Cf. Frankl, “The Unheard Cry for Meaning” pp. 47-48.

[24] Marian Cowan, C.S.J. offers several different ways of doing the Third Phase with varying length and approaches in Cowan-Futrell, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola,” pp. 121-125.