Graces and Desires

Spiritual Exercise 45


St. Ignatius writes: “In the preparatory prayer I will be God our Lord for the grace that all my intentions, actions, and operations may be directed purely to the praise and service of His Divine Majesty”

Desires and Graces


“Not discussed enough in Ignatian spirituality is the importance of desire. Saint Ignatius uses this word throughout the Spiritual Exercises. He says that one of the purposes of the Exercises is “to find better what one desires.” This makes its way into meditation after meditation as the retreatant is asked to name the grace they are seeking in their prayer time. “Ask God our Lord for what I want and desire,” it says. It could be the gift of consolation, repentance, hope, conversion, redemption, feeling loved, or even tears. But the importance of desires goes beyond formal prayer within a retreat.

Our desires, like many things, are a way God communicates with our heart and guides us. Selfish desires and what Ignatius would call “inordinate attachments” are not in the picture. Ultimately, we see that our desires are really the same as God’s desires for us. They lead us to the person God wants us to become - Andy Otto

  1. St. Ignatius advises that we pray for a certain Grace with each prayer period.

  2. When we name what we desire from God, we become more open to receiving the gifts that God wants to give us.

  3. Praying for a grace from God helps us to notice the gifts that we receive from God.

  4. Try to ask God for the Grace that St. Ignatius suggests with each prayer period

  5. When the grace that St. Ignatius suggests is difficult to pray, he suggests that we ask God to help us to desire it.