In the third week of his Spiritual Exerices, St. Ignatius invites us to meditate profoundly on the Passion of Christ. For many it can be helpful to practice various forms of fasting and penance in order to draw deeper into the mystery of Jesus' deep and individual love for each one of us. In the following excerpt from points 210-218, St. Igantius provides us with criteria to do this in an efficacious manner.
Rules to Order Oneself in the Taking of Food
First Rule. The first rule is that it is well to abstain less from bread, because it is not a food as to which the appetite is used to act so inordinately, or to which temptation urges as in the case of the other foods.
Second Rule. The second: Abstinence appears more convenient as to drinking, than as to eating bread. So, one ought to look much what is helpful to him, in order to admit it, and what does him harm, in order to discard it.
Third Rule. The third: As to foods, one ought to have the greatest and most entire abstinence, because as the appetite is more ready to act inordinately, so temptation is more ready in making trial, on this head. And so abstinence in foods, to avoid disorder, can be kept in two ways, one by accustoming oneself to eat coarse foods; the other, if one takes delicate foods, by taking them in small quantity.
Fourth Rule. The fourth: Guarding against falling into sickness, the more a man leaves off from what is suitable, the more quickly he will reach the mean which he ought to keep in his eating and drinking; for two reasons: the first, because by so helping and disposing himself, he will many times experience more the interior knowledge, consolations and Divine inspirations to show him the mean which is proper for him; the second, because if the person sees himself in such abstinence not with so great corporal strength or disposition for the Spiritual Exercises, he will easily come to judge what is more suitable to his bodily support.
Fifth Rule. The fifth: While the person is eating, let him consider as if he saw Christ our Lord eating with His Apostles, and how He drinks and how He looks and how He speaks; and let him see to imitating Him. So that the principal part of the intellect shall occupy itself in the consideration of Christ our Lord, and the lesser part in the support of the body; because in this way he will get greater system and order as to how he ought to behave and manage himself.
Sixth Rule. The sixth: Another time, while he is eating, he can take another consideration, either on the life of Saints, or on some pious Contemplation, or on some spiritual affair which he has to do, because, being intent on such thing, he will take less delight and feeling in the corporal food.
Seventh Rule. The seventh: Above all, let him guard against all his soul being intent on what he is eating, and in eating let him not go hurriedly, through appetite, but be master of himself, as well in the manner of eating as in the quantity which he eats.
Eighth Rule. The eighth: To avoid disorder, it is very helpful, after dinner or after supper, or at another hour when one feels no appetite for eating, to decide with oneself for the coming dinner or supper, and so on, each day, the quantity which it is suitable that he should eat. Beyond this let him not go because of any appetite or temptation, but rather, in order to conquer more all inordinate appetite and temptation of the enemy, if he is tempted to eat more, let him eat less.
One of the hallmarks of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are the advices regarding making a decision, election, or choice, particularly with regards to one's vocation or "state of life". Below they are presented in their entirety: (articles 169-189).
St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises are considered on of the great treasures of the Church. One of its most well known and helpful parts in the spiritual life are his rules for the discernment of spirits. Below we present them in their entirety.
Introduction to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Point #1 - For as strolling, walking and running are bodily exercises, so every way of preparing and (1) disposing the soul to rid itself of all the disordered tendencies, and, after it is rid, to (2) seek and find the Divine Will as to the management of one’s life for the salvation of the soul, is called a Spiritual Exercise.