Joseph Fitzmyer's Spiritual Exercises Based on Paul's Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004) was one of my companions (apart from my close friend) during my just concluded personal solitude retreat at Fraser's Hill.
In this book, Joseph Fitzmyer demonstrates that Romans is a wellspring of devotional insight, accessible and deeply rewarding even to everyday readers. "While not overlooking the complex theology of Paul's letter, in this book Fitzmyer recasts the text of Romans into the form of meditations for devotional reflection in spiritual retreats, Bible studies, church classrooms, small groups, and other prayerful gatherings. Styled after the famous Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, the book includes twenty-four meditations that can be divided in a variety of ways and fit to a range of reading schedules. Each meditation is accompanied by a set of questions that encourages reflection on the passage of Romans being considered and also a colloquy in the form of a psalm or New Testament hymn that matches the sentiment of the Pauline passage. A truly unique approach to spirituality, this book shows the role of Scripture in properly ordering the Christian life."
I am not disappointed that I chose Fitzmyer's Spiritual Exercises to be my "spiritual" companion. I did the first 18 exercises covering Romans 1-8. It was deeply rewarding, spiritual enriching, and intellectual engaging, to say the least in doing these spiritual exercises.
These exercises helped me as a way of, in the words of Ignatius of Loyola, "preparing and disposing our soul to rid itself of all disordered affections and...of seeking and finding God's will in the ordering of our life for the salvation of our soul."
I think I am now better prepared and recharged to face the challenges and uncertainties ahead of me.