At the heart of the Christian message is reconciliation. This means recognising our sinfulness and taking steps to restoring unity by becoming once again at unity with ourselves, with our neighbours, and with the whole creation and with God.
Reconciliation has its source in God and for us to receive this free gift there is a need to give ourselves space to take a look at ourselves and offer our lives afresh to God. For the Christian, Jesus - the sinless one - is the model and objective external measure of what it means to be at unity and reconciled.
Today the ministry of reconciliation is being re-discovered by many Christian traditions. It is being taken out of the sphere of, on the one hand, a purely private prayer between "me and God" and on the other, the practice of a rather over-general confession that starts off a liturgy. The exercises offer help to explore some of the middle ground between the private and the general forms of reconciliation.
Although these are group exercises they mostly emphasize the individual's sin. The first encourages the group members to an awareness of corporate sin and the last exercise tries to grapple with the notion of corporate sin.