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Posted December 12, 2006

Book: Lesson from Ignatius Loyola
Author: David L. Fleming, S.J.
Review for Religious. St. Louis. 2006. Pp. 82

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

The short essays that make up this book are meant to give a taste of Ignatian spirituality. Each article acts as a short lesson about our experience and our understanding of our relationship with Jesus in the Ignatian perspective. That relationship shapes our prayer, our choices, our ministries — as Ignatius would say, “our whole way of proceeding.”

An Excerpt from the Book:


To be a contemplative-in-action means to be a discerning person. A “contemplative” is one who is somehow in touch with God; and a contemplative “in action” is one who is caught up in the choices and decisions of everyday living in relationship with God. If we are in contact with God as we continue to make our choices and decisions, we are discerning people. We may not put the two — discernment and contemplation — together in this way, but I think we find that discerning people and contemplatives-in-action are the same. In other words, discernment and contemplation are not a “sometime” activity but rather a quality of living that we strive to deepen by God’s grace as we grow spiritually.

Where is our heart? Heart touches into the depth of our being. Do we value imagination as one of the doorways into these depths? Using our imaginations allows God a way into our lives that surprises and takes us unaware. Imagination allows us to approach ministry in creative ways imitative of God’s creative action. Using our imaginations is the way to enter into Ignatian contemplation — a privileged way to know Jesus so that we may love him more an follow him more closely. Through our imagination and through this approach to contemplation, we find that God provides us ways to learn a divine language and become discerning people.

Where is our heart? Let us look back over how much we value and use our imagination in our prayers, in our own discerning, and in our ministries with others. How often do we touch into the Gospels with an Ignatian approach of contemplation? Is getting to know Jesus so as to be able to live with God a constant in my life as a Christian? Is my relationship with Jesus a present and reliable norm for my discerning? Do I have a sense of growing as a discerning person? What holds me back from growing as a contemplative-in-action? What helps me to grow as a contemplative-in-action?

As we desire to grow spiritually — to grow as contemplatives-in-action — it is good for us to ask: Where is our heart? For the heart of Ignatian spirituality is to be found in our use of imagination, contemplation, and discernment.

Table of Contents:

What are the spiritual exercises?

Still n the road to Damascus: responding to God’s dream for us

Ignatian noting

Ignatian communicating

How do we live an Ignatian spirituality? A media God

How do we live an Ignatian spirituality? Poor in Jesus

How do we live an Ignatian spirituality? Direction and ministry

Growing as a contemplative-in-action: imagination and contemplation

Growing as a contemplative-in-action: contemplation and discernment

Journeying with Ignatius the Pilgrim

Ignatian ministry: working with Jesus in the vineyard

Ignatian mission: one who is sent

Ignatian spirituality and educating: visions

Ignatian spirituality and educating: values

Ignatian spirituality and educating: strategies