A house divided against itself cannot stand. And what of a divided heart or mind? We want to love God above all else, to be faithful disciples of Christ, to respond with integrity to the call of the Gospel. And yet too often we also want and even choose what is contrary to our calling. Our hearts are divided and we live in conflict with ourselves.

The purpose of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises is to free us from the disordered desires that are in conflict with our commitment to Christ, so that our perceptions, our judgments, our choices and our living out of those choices are not influenced by such attachments.

As our love for God becomes the total purpose and organizing principle of our lives, we will no longer be torn apart, and we will more and more experience the deep peace that is the fruit of a unified life.

—Fr. Peter Fennessy, S.J. is a retreat director and spiritual counselor at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House, Bloomfield Hills, MI.