The Ignatian Way, a spiritual path
The Spiritual Exercises are the most important legacy of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a series of spoken and mental prayers that enabled him to cast off his idle temptations and thoughts, and to work for the good of his soul. One guide suggests working through these exercises stage by stage, prayer after prayer, to complete a process of personal growth. The principal objective, in the saint's own words, is to "conquer oneself and regulate one's life without determining oneself through any tendency that may be disordered”.
To disconnect oneself from everyday life is one of the main challenges for those who follow the spiritual path. In the last two stages of the way, from Igualada to Montserrat and from Montserrat to Manresa, we can find places that are ideal for inner contemplation: infinite landscapes, narrow paths, stirring images such as the silhouette of the mountain of Montserrat rising up against the horizon, the tiny churches and chapels that are scattered along the route and the mighty temples of the monastery of Montserrat and La Seu in Manresa. Performing the spiritual exercises in these magnificent settings will make it easier for us to cut ourselves off from our worldly concerns. Sleeping in the pilgrim hostels or the cells of the monastery of Montserrat, for example, will make our experience all the more vivid. At the end of the route, places such as the Santa Cova in Manresa, where weekend workshops and a number of different spiritual courses are available, inspire a sense of personal satisfaction and gratitude.
The importance of meditation
In order to meditate, one must free oneself from anxieties and distractions. Walking to the rhythm of your own breathing will help you to concentrate on the day's exercise. More distractions and idle thoughts are bound to surface. We must let them pass in order to focus on the written passage of the day and the vital subjects for meditation that one encounters in the guide to the spiritual path. Keeping a diary of your feelings and thoughts as you progress along the route can help you to remember and benefit from the experience.
Before setting out, a pilgrim should obtain credentials from one of the institutions with links to the Ignatian Way. This document will make it easier for the pilgrim to find lodging in hostels and town halls and, at the same time, it will certify the pilgrimage if it is stamped at least once on every day of the walk. The credentials have a symbolic cost of €0.5. The stamps can be requested at any institution (town hall, social centre…) or premises (bar, store, hostel…) in the towns along the Way.