For most people most of the time, prayer is hard. It is especially difficult —not to mention unsatisfying—when people experience it as formal, dry, and repetitious. But what might happen if you discovered a simple prayer that changed all that? What if you discovered a prayer that changed you?
In A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer, Jim Manney introduces Christians to a 500-year-old form of prayer that dramatically altered his perception of prayer and the way he prayed. The prayer is the examen, which St. Ignatius Loyola developed for the purpose of nurturing a reflective habit of mind that is constantly attuned to God’s presence.
What makes the prayer so powerful is its capacity to dispel any notion that God is somewhere “up there,” detached from our day-to-day tasks and concerns. Instead, the examenleads us into a relationship with a God who desires to be personally caught up in the lives of those whom he created.
By following five simple steps for praying the examen, we can encounter the God who, as Scripture tells us, “is not far from each one of us”—the God whose presence in our lives can make all the difference in the world.
We ask the question when we pray. We ask it when we run out of answers to our problems. We ask it when we face big decisions. We ask it when we get out of bed in the morning: How should I live this day as well as I can?
We can find answers through learning the art of discernment-the wisdom that enables us to see and interpret the leading of the Holy Spirit as it is manifested in the inner lives of our hearts. The great master of this art was St. Ignatius Loyola, author of The Spiritual Exercises, who believed that the ability to discern the spirits is one of the most important skills a Christian could have. Ignatius believed that the answer to the question "What Should I Do?" is found in the shifting sea of feelings, insights, leadings, and intuitions of our affective lives.
What Do You Really Want? shows us how to understand these emotions and use what we learn to make the choices that best serve God and bring his love to the people in our lives. It shows the truth of one of Ignatius's greatest insights-that when we find what we really want, we find what God wants too, because the deepest desires of our hearts were placed there by God.
Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, famously wrote that “the world is charged with the grandeur of God.” This quote points toward a key principle of the Ignatian tradition: that God is found in all things, in all places.
Yet this is just one of an abundance of inspirational ideas that stem from Ignatian spirituality. To really understand what this unique yet highly practical spirituality is all about, it helps to look at it through many different lenses and to hear about it from many different voices.
Charged with Grandeur contains more than 100 insightful and inspiring Ignatian thoughts from dozens of writers, including James Martin, SJ; Margaret Silf; and Monika Hellwig. The entries are conveniently grouped under 11 different Ignatian themes.
Rather than throw readers into the deep end, Charged with Grandeur allows readers simply to dip their toes into the 500-year-old Ignatian tradition and to be inspired by the many riches it offers.