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Posted May 26, 2010

Book: The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times: New Perspectives on the Transformative Wisdom of Ignatius of Loyola
Author: Dean Brackely
The Crossroads Publishing Company. New York. 2004. Pp. 297

An Excerpt from the jacket:

The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times is destined to become a classic. It reintroduces the reader to Christianity as a lived experience, rather than a set of doctrines. In these times of spreading violence, poverty, and environmental crisis, this book points the reader beyond paralyzing fear to inner freedom, hope and constructive response.

Following the spirituality of Ignatius of Loyola, which has benefitted millions for over four centuries, these reflections chart a course for wise decision-making, transformative action — a fuller life. Whether you consider yourself a “religious” person or more of a searcher, here is a book that can help and inspire you on your journey.

An Excerpt from the Book:

The Contemplation for Attaining Love

Before presenting the Contemplation, Ignatius reminds us of two truths about love. First, “love ought to be expressed in deeds more than in words”; Second, “love consists in a mutual sharing of goods; that is, the lover gives and shares with the beloved what he or she has, or out of what he or she has or can do, and vice versa, so that if one has knowledge one gives to the other who does not have it. The same with honors and riches, and the other reciprocates in the same way.”

Commentary. If love is shown in deeds, then contemplating God’s love means contemplating God’s deeds, especially how God bestows gifts on us. God’s love should stir up active love in us.

Love consists of mutual sharing. God shares “knowledge” of reality in this Contemplation. It is surprising to read that lovers share “riches” and “honors” — the two key temptations in the Two Standards. The emphasis is obviously on sharing. We can understand sharing riches — but what about honors? Love “honors” others; it accords them respect, perhaps our deepest human need. A friend once recommended imagining all people wearing signs around their necks reading “Take me seriously!” Love recognizes, above all, the dignity ofthose the world despises. Love listens to their stories — which is often all they have.

Table of Contents

Getting Free

1. Spirituality for solidarity

2. Free to love

3. The reality of evil

4. Forgiveness

5. Reform of life

6. Rules for discernment

Something Worth Living For

7. The call

8. The reign of God

9. Contemplation of Christ

10. The two standards

11. Downward mobility

12. Humility and solidarity

13. Expanding the soul

Discerning and Deciding

14. Life in the spirit

15. More rules for discernment

16. Three ways to make decisions

17. The way of truth and life

Passion and Compassion

18. The grace of compassion

19. The solidarity of God

20. Blessed are the persecuted


21. Resurrection and the spirit

22. Consolation, action, and liberation

23. Learning to love like God


24. Introducing prayer

25. School of prayer

26. Worldly prayer

The Penguin is real