The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin

This non-fiction book is a very readable book, which shows how one can use the techniques of Ignatian spirituality in one’s own life. I love the Jesuits (Father Martin writes and is an editor-at-large for America Magazine), and I loved reading this book.

St. Ignatius Loyola (1491 – 1586, canonized 1622) was born in Spain, and was a soldier before he got religion. Between 1522 and 1524 he composed The Spiritual Exercises, which form the cornerstone of Ignatian Spirituality: a way of understanding and living one’s relationship with God in the world as practiced by members of the Society of Jesus.  In 1539, with Saint Peter Faber and Saint Francis Xavier, Ignatius formed the Society of Jesus, which was approved in 1540 by Pope Paul III. Ignatius was chosen as the first Superior General of the order and invested with the title of Father General by the Jesuits. His main principle became the Jesuit motto: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam (“for the greater glory of God”).

Father Martin (born 1960), who became a Jesuit in 1988 and a priest in 1999, shows how the basics of Jesuit spirituality can be used by ordinary people, in all walks of life. He emphasizes the Examin, the daily Examination of Conscience, and tells how the traditional Ignition vows of poverty, chastity and obedience can work in everyday life. Towards the end of the book (and every part of the book is productive and enjoyable reading), he notes, “So tying it all together, you could say this: Contemplatives in action seek to find God in all things by looking at the world in an incarnational way, and, in their quest, they realize their desire for freedom and detachment, which helps them move even closer to God. That’s probably a fair summary of Ignatian spirituality…anyone can experience God if he or she moves along the path of Ignatius.”

I very much enjoyed reading this book, and I hope to be able to use the Daily Examin to better my relationship with God and others.

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