Mens nostra

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Mens nostra is one issued on December 20, 1929 by Pope Pius XI. published encyclical . It has the subtitle On the Promotion of Spiritual Exercises .

Motive and inspiration

At the beginning Pius XI describes that this year he will celebrate the 50th jubilee of the priesthood and on this occasion - with the Apostolic Constitution Auspicantibus nobis of January 6, 1929 - initiated an extraordinary jubilee year. He thus follows his predecessors Leo XIII. (Encyclical Quod anniversarius of April 1, 1888) and Pius X. ( Apostolic Letter Haerent animos of August 4, 1908), who, like him, were shaped by the spirit of reflection. He underlines this when he writes:

"Among all the methods of spiritual practice there is one which has received the complete and repeated approval of the Apostolic See [...] namely the method of St. Ignatius of Loyola , the saint whom We like to call the Master specialized in spiritual practice."


With this encyclical, the Pope informed the world, along with many important considerations about the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, whom he also called the "father of spiritual exercises", that he had introduced an annual course in the Vatican. He praised Exercises as the wisest and most comprehensive key to the laws of salvation and the perfection of souls , a wonderful tool for the salvation of souls of incomparable power. Furthermore, St. Karl Borromeo is an example of the spread of spiritual reflection, he had highlighted the methods of meditation according to Ignatius in his letter on the 300th anniversary of his beatification as worthy of recommendation and imitation. Pius presents the retreat as a form of conversion:

“Exercises are the fruit of an individual's conversion, which allowed God's will to bless and promote the whole Church to flourish. Grace should triumph in the one, in order later through him to help many people to break through a new life. "


In the final exhortation , Pius XI admonishes. all priests to devote themselves faithfully to the spiritual exercises. In doing so, they should adhere to the canonical provisions to an appropriate extent . He encourages meditation and points out that the spiritual exercises, if they are to become a fulfillment of meaning, need a certain space for time and leisure. It is sometimes advisable to extend the period from a few days to a month. The meditations and retreats also have an impact on the health of mind and body, he writes, and suggests that these forms of spiritual renewal should also be used in old age. Ultimately, inner peace, balance and deepening of faith not only lead to inner peace , but this peace is also transmitted to fellow human beings. In conclusion, the Pope once again recommends that the spiritual exercises be carried out according to the methods of St. Ignatius.

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