The name of "Spiritual Exercises" indicates that the faithful who come to the school of St. Ignatius to make a retreat are called upon to use the faculties of their understanding and their heart. They come to act for themselves, not to see another act ; in acting they come to exert themselves, not to give themselves up to barren contemplation ; they come to exercise, not their body and its organs, but their soul and its chief powers - the understanding and the will.
The object of this undertaking, altogether interior and practical as it is, is clearly pointed out by the title even of the book. Nothing vague, idle, or purely speculative, is to occupy man in the retreat. He comes to learn to conquer himself; to free himself from evil passions; to reform the disorder, great or little, of his past life, and to regulate it for the future by a plan conformable to the Divine will. Can man, during his short sojourn on earth, - become, too, by baptism a Christian, the disciple and subject of Jesus Christ, can he propose to himself an end more noble, more holy, more glorifying to his Creator?