Author Jim Manney knows St. Ignatius of Loyola very well, having written several books about him before this one. We’ve reviewed two of the others in years past. But this one is unique, designed for those who have never before encountered the creator of “the Ignatian way.”
What is “the Ignatian way” of spirituality? As Manney mentions in a wide-ranging yet succinct introduction, “Cognitive behavioral therapy, the 12-step movement, the modern study of decision-making, and Christian humanism all have their roots in Ignatian thinking.” Simply put, Ignatian spirituality is named for St. Ignatius, and focuses a person on how to make good decisions, being attentive to what matters most and gives life meaning, and looking for God (synonymous with “meaning”) in our work, relationships, and all our opportunities for growth.
Manney lays these Ignatian principles out clearly from month-to-month, and then day-to-day in short meditations — one for each day of the calendar year.
Each month provides a focus or intention. For example, January is a time for “Awareness.” April is a concentration on “Freedom.” July, “Humility. October, “Relationships.”
There are many quotations of spiritual teachers in the daily reflections, some from well-known Ignatian practitioners (often called “Jesuits,” whose names include the abbreviation “SJ” after their names; Gregory Boyle, SJ and James Martin, SJ each appear a few times here). There are also many quotations from teachers that will be familiar to those who frequent Spirituality & Practice including Jon Kabat-Zinn, Mary Oliver, and John O’Donohue.
This will be a useful book for anyone preferring a Christian spiritual practice, seeking a new way of focusing on what’s most meaningful in life.