Moreover, it must be observed, what is very important, that great and constant as is the devotion which the Catholic pays to the Blessed Mary, it has a special province, and has far more connexion with the public services and the festive aspect of Christianity, and with certain extraordinary offices which she holds, than with what is strictly personal and primary in religion ...

For example, St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises are among the most approved methods of devotion in the modern Catholic Church; they proceed from one of the most celebrated of her Saints, and have the praise of Popes, and of the most eminent masters of the spiritual life. A Bull of Paul the Third's "approves, praises, and sanctions all and everything contained in them;" indulgences are granted to the performance of them by the same Pope, by Alexander the Seventh, and by Benedict the Fourteenth. St. Carlo Borromeo declared that he learned more from them than from all other books together; St. Francis de Sales calls them "a holy method of reformation," and they are the model on which all the extraordinary devotions of religious men or bodies, and the course of missions, are conducted. If there is a document which is the authoritative exponent of the inward communion of the members of the modern Catholic Church with their God and Saviour, it is this work.

The Exercises are directed to the removal of obstacles in the way of the soul's receiving and profiting by the gifts of God. They undertake to effect this in three ways; by removing all objects of this world, and, as it were, bringing the soul "into the solitude where God may speak to its heart;" next, by setting before it the ultimate end of man, and its own deviations from it, the beauty of holiness, and the pattern of Christ; and, lastly, by giving rules for its correction. They consist of a course of prayers, meditations, self-examinations, and the like, which in its complete  extent lasts thirty days; and these are divided into three stages,—the Via Purgativa, in which sin is the main subject of consideration; the Via Illuminativa, which is devoted to the contemplation of our Lord's passion, involving the process of the determination of our calling; and the Via Unitiva, in which we proceed to the contemplation of our Lord's resurrection and ascension.

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