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Book: Quickening the Fire in Our Midst: The Challenge of Diocesan Priestly Spirituality
Author: George A. Aschenbrenner, S.J.
Loyola Press, Chicago, 2002, pp.197

Excerpt from the Jacket:

In this thoughtful examination of diocesan priestly spirituality, George Aschenbrenner, S.J., distills years of wisdom gained through working with diocesan priests and seminarians to offer hope, inspiration, and encouragement to those discerning and living out a priestly call.

Aschenbrenner explains how diocesan priestly spirituality is beautiful, special, and unlike any other Christian spirituality. He outlines the gifts that define diocesan priests, explores the particular stresses priests face, and points to attitudes and resources that are essential for maintaining or recapturing priestly joy. Most important, he shows how a continuing experience of the love of Jesus can help diocesan priests offer pastoral love to those they serve.

Excerpt from book:

Examen of Consciousness

For many people today, life is spontaneity if anything. If spontaneity is crushed or aborted, then life itself is stillborn. In this view, examen is living life backwards and once removed from the vibrant spontaneity and immediacy of the experience itself. These people today disagree with Socrates' claim that the unexamined life is not worth living. For these people, the Spirit is in the spontaneous and so anything that militates against spontaneity is not of the Spirit.

This view overlooks the fact that welling up in the consciousness and experience of each of us are two spontaneities, one good and for God, another evil and not for God. These two types of spontaneous urges and movements happen to all of us. So often, the quick-witted, loose-tongued person who can be so entertaining and the center of attention and who is always characterized as be so spontaneous is certainly not being moved by or giving expression to the good spontaneity. For people eager to love God with their whole being, the challenge is not simply to let the spontaneous happen but rather to be able to sift through these various spontaneous urges and give full existential ratification to those spontaneous feelings that are from and for God. We do this by allowing the truly Spirited spontaneity to happen in our daily live. But we must learn the feel of this true Spirited spontaneity. Examen has a central role in this learning.

When examen is related to discernment, it becomes examen of consciousness rather than conscience. . . . . In discernment, the prime concern is not with morality of good or bad actions; rather the concern is with the way God is affecting consciousness. What is happening in our consciousness is prior to and more important than our actions, which can be delineated as juridically good or evil. How we are experiencing the "drawing" of God in our own existential consciousness and how our sinful nature is quietly tempting us and luring us away from intimacy with God in the subtle dispositions of our consciousness ---- that is what the daily examen is concerned with prior to a concern for our response in our actions.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The Issue and One Response

Chapter 1: A Distinctive Spirituality

Chapter 2: An Active-Apostolic Lifestyle

Chapter 3: God's Love: Alone and Enough

Chapter 4: Identity and Territory

Chapter 5: The Priest As a Leader of Prayer

Chapter 6: The Priest As Pastoral Leader

Chapter 7: Gold Purified in the Fire: Diocesan Seminary Formation

Chapter 8: Presumption for Perseverance and Permanence

Chapter 9: A Discerning Presence in the Midst of a Local People

Chapter 10: Minster of God's Loving Forgiveness

Chapter 11: Celibate Chastity

Chapter 12: Diocesan Priestly Obedience: A Mission in Companionship

Chapter 13: Gospel Simplicity


Consciousness Examen

"A Check on Our Availability: The Examen"

"Consciousness Examen: Becoming God's Heart for the World"