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Posted September 3, 2005

Book: Karl Rahner and Ignatian Spirituality
Author: Philip Endean
Oxford University Press, England, pp. 291

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

Karl Rahner SJ (1904-1984), perhaps the most seminal figure in twentieth-century Roman Catholic theology, believed that the most significant influence on his work was Ignatius Loyola’ Spiritual Exericises. This book casts significant new light on Rahner’s achievement by exploring that influence. It brings out the links between Rahner’s theological creativity and the twentieth-century rediscovery of Ignatian spirituality led by his brother Hugo, thereby clarifying in a new way the relationships in Rahner’s thought between grace, christology, and ecclesiology. By offering a fresh and contemporary theological interpretation of Ignatian retreat-giving, Philip Endean illuminates the new departures this ministry has taken in the last thirty years, as well as contributing to the lively current debate regarding the relationship between spirituality and speculative theology.

An Excerpt from the Book:

We have already referred to a famous passage in Ignatius’s Autobiography, recounting a particularly important experience he had at Manresa, by the banks of the River Cardoner:

“As he was seated there, the eyes of his understanding began to be opened: not that he saw some vision, but understanding and knowing many things, spiritual things just as much as matters of faith and learning -- and this with an enlightenment so strong that all things seemed new to him. One cannot set out the particular things he understood then, though they were many: rather, he received a great clarity in his understanding, such that in the whole course of his life, right up to the sixty-two years he had completed, he does not think, gathering together all the helps he has had from God and all the things he has come to know (even if he joins them into one), that he has ever attained so much as on that single occasion.”

Here if anywhere Ignatius was touch by God. Nothing happened to the river, but his whole being was transformed, and all things appeared new. Ignatius professes not to understand the process fully – a failure at once contrasting with and reflected by the luxuriant range of subsequent interpretation. But he is still using linguistic resources to articulate, however incompletely, a distinction between this experience and other experiences, and on that basis to readjust his whole world-view.

Table of Contents:

1. Fragments, foundations, and bearings

2. The immediate experience of God

3. The mystical and the gracious

4. The Rahner brothers and the discovery of Jeronimo Nadal

5. Transcendence becoming thematic

6. Immediacy, mediation, and grounding

7. First principles

8. The standard of Christ

9. Decisions and discipleship

10. The decision of faith

11. Ignatius, Rahner, and theology