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Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making Paperback – September 1, 2009

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Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making + The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living + The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Father Gallagher has emerged as one of the foremost commentators on Ignatian spirituality in the United States."  —Harvey D. Egan, SJ, professor, Boston College


"Fr. Tim Gallagher has quickly become one of the leading commentators on Ignatian discernment."  —George Aschenbrenner, SJ


"What I most admire is what lies behind Gallagher's book—an extraordinary patience in gathering so many opposite examples . . . in part from his own experience . . . and in part from his reading."  —Reverend Brian O'Leary, SJ, spiritual director and professor, Milltown Institute of Theology & Philosophy

About the Author

Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., a popular retreat leader, Ignatian scholar, and lecturer around the world, holds a doctorate from the Gregorian University and is the author of sevearl bestselling books, including The Discernement of Spirits (now the topic of a TV series) and The Examen Prayer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824524896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824524890
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. He obtained his doctorate in 1983 from the Gregorian University. He has taught (St. John's Seminary, Brighton, MA; Our Lady of Grace Seminary Residence, Boston, MA), assisted in formation work for twelve years, and served two terms as provincial in his own community. He has dedicated many years to an extensive ministry of retreats, spiritual direction, and teaching about the spiritual life. Fr. Gallagher is the author of seven books (Crossroad) on the spiritual teaching of St. Ignatius of Loyola and the life of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.

His titles include: The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide to Everyday Living; The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today; Spiritual Consolation: An Ignatian Guide for the Greater Discernment of Spirits; An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer: Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercises; Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Prayer with Scripture; Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making;The Discernment of Spirits: A Reader's Guide: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living; Begin Again: The Life and Spiritual Legacy of Bruno Lanteri; Praying the Liturgy of the Hours: A Personal Journey. http://www.frtimothygallagher.org/

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Sean Herriott on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Fr. Gallagher's book beautifully expresses the Ignatian concept of God being found in the midst of everyday life. He gives practical, simple steps for thinking through decisions in light of God's priorities rather than ours, and then applying what we know about our own gifts and inclinations. This is a perfect book to read if you're mulling a decision in your life or if you'd like to have a better framework for making them as you go forward.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By peekrood on June 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a life changing book. I have a fair bit of experience with Ignatian discernment (I've done two silent retreats based on his Spiritual Exercises) but this book helped me understand Ignatius' spirituality at a much deeper level. This book is a must read. He includes lots of various examples for the different modes of discernment. The reader is sure to find lots of examples that correspond to their own quest in some way.

My one complaint is not really a complaint: it's a bit repetitive. He goes back through each story and pulls out lines from each to illustrate his points. At first I found it cumbersome but eventually found that it deepened my understanding. A challenging and wonderful book.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Seeker of the Truth on January 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
Easy to read and apply, this is an outstanding step-by-step guide for discerning God's will in your life. Loaded with helpful examples from Fr. Gallagher's many years of spiritual direction and from the best writers on the topic. Will be considered a classic in the field. One of the best books I've read!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Megabit on January 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am a fan of Gallagher's - I've read three of his books: Discernment of Spirits, Spiritual Consolation, and Discerning the Will of God. It was such a relief to read his works because each book has shed so much light to my spiritual life. Not only is the information accurate, but I am grateful for his ability to present what could be taught in an intellectual manner in such a simple, practical and easy to apply manner. What is also impressive is that he manages to pack so much truth into so few pages - his books are well organized and the information is presented with uncanny clarity.

This book presents a set of guidelines to help identify the signs for the ways that God reveals His will for any given situation. Gallagher presents the guideline, explains it in simple terms with brevity and clarity, and provides illustrative examples to further illuminate the matter. I am easily able to apply this information to numerous situations I've been faced with. The results are accurate and reflect the information presented in these pages. (I suppose that is why St Ignatius is a Saint). However, it is necessary to have someone you can review your assessment with. A must actually.

This book can be read as a standalone book, but I would recommend also reading "Discernment of Spirits" and "Spiritual Consolation" by the same author because the principles in those two books are applicable to several steps in this book. This book does not explain in detail what the other two explain, but Gallagher does give a brief summation.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Schroeder on November 13, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a nice beginning introduction to the ideas of St. Ignatius on discernment and the disposition needed, but I expected more of a discussion and commentary on discernment rather than just a description of Ignatius' teaching. Pros: Well organized, bringing many of Ignatius' ideas together in one place; uses lots of stories and examples from people's lives. Cons: Stories used so often that they prevented any in-depth investigation of a particular idea; instead of learning more about the ideas beyond the basics, I felt like I was being given example after example of them.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By joyfulnoisemaker on January 31, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this book at suggestion of a religious sister while considering my calling whether religious life or marriage. Would also be useful in decision-making in general, specific scenarios in book addressing, for example, career changes, taking a job, moving, etc.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mack78 on September 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fr. Gallagher has written a beautiful and insightful guide to Christian decision-making, based on the principles of the Spiritual Exercies. This book is esp. helpful for college men and women who are trying to discern God's call in their lives. Any young adult who has major questions about his future will thank you for sharing this book.
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You have a major decision to make: Do I marry this person? Do I put aside the stability of my current job to take another? or to start a new company? or to enter a different profession? Do I put financial security aside to pursue further studies? For a Catholic: Should I become a priest, a deacon, or a religious?

There are all sorts of manuals written to address decision making in one's personal life or in leadership roles. For Christians, there is also the spiritual process of discernment: learning what is God's will for you. Note the assumptions: that God has a personal will for you beyond that you be a good and loving human being. And another is that, for most people anyway, God doesn't just tell you what to do in some vision or in a voice from heaven. You have to uncover God's will for yourself.

You have a prayer of a chance to learn God's will, but most of us don't really know how to approach this matter in prayer. "Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Decision Making," by Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV, describes the three ways of Christian discernment that were developed by the founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556). In brief, these modes are: (1) understanding God's will in such a way that one has no doubt from the start, (2) experiencing clarity in decision-making through the "discernment of spirits," and (3) while one is in a state of tranquility, coming to an understanding of God's will through rational decision making.

Gallagher explains the Ignatian methods in easily accessible language. (He provides Ignatius' original text as an appendix.) In addition, he employs numerous real-life examples of people making decisions through Christian discernment.
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