- Paperback: 232 pages
- Publisher: The Crossroad Publishing Company (September 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0824522915
- ISBN-13: 978-0824522919
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 142 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,594 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living Paperback – September 1, 2005
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About the Author
Timothy Gallagher holds a doctorate from the Gregorian and has been a retreat leader for over two decades. He lives at St. Clements Shrine, Boston, MA.
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Father Gallagher gives these seminars, and no doubt wrote this book, as "a help" from the teachings of Saint Ignatius, "for everyday living." He said this "applied to persons of every walk of life and vocation." Accordingly, he used examples from the experiences of everyday people.
Growing in the "Spiritual Life" can be exhilarating. It can also have its difficulties. If we sincerely attempt to advance spiritually, i.e., to seek union with God, Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., in his book "Spiritual Passages," insists that spiritual direction (of some kind) is necessary if we are to avoid dangers present in living and advancing in the spiritual life. For instance, he tells us that as we grow in the spiritual life, "we expose more and more of our real being with ... its power and potential for good or ill." Because personal honesty and consistency is necessary on our part, the infused virtues (faith, hope, and charity), and their growth, become extremely important and necessary for our own "inner balance" as we look into our own soul and the hidden unconscious, which may contain very disturbing elements. Using a quote from Archbishop Fénelon, he gives us a look at how our dark side can appear while advancing spiritually:
As light increases, we see ourselves to be worse than we thought. We are amazed at our former blindness as we see issuing forth from the depths of our heart a whole swarm of shameful feelings, like filthy reptiles crawling from a hidden cave. We never could have believed that we harbored such things, and we stand aghast as we watch them gradually appear. But we must be neither amazed nor disheartened. We are not worse than we were; on the contrary, we are better. But while our faults diminish, the light by which we see them waxes brighter, and we are filled with horror. Bear in mind, for your own comfort, that we only perceive our malady when the cure begins. So long as there is no sign of cure, we are unconscious of the depth of our disease; we are in a state of blind presumption and hardness; the prey of self-delusion. While we go with the stream, we are unconscious of its rapid course; but when we begin to stem it ever so little, it makes itself felt.
We, therefore, need "helps." We need the wisdom of experience--of a mentor--to help us through some of what can be very the confusing aspects of growth. Father Benedict insists that, "when the dark recesses of our spirit become manifest, we especially need at least a friend to share our fears, and assure us that ours is not an uncommon experience." Although a personal Spiritual Director might be the answer here, not everyone has the good fortune of finding and having access to one. There are other ways, however, that this wisdom can be sought, found, and put to use.
I believe that Father Gallagher has done a great service to the Church and to those who are striving to practice the Spiritual Life. In this book we come to know the mind of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and how he learned that he could put his own inward experiences to the test to see if they were coming from God or not--to resolve his own perplexities. He taught this to his contemporary followers. He can teach us too. He can be that friend that will assure us that ours is not an uncommon experience. He can speak to us and teach us through this book which Father Gallagher so masterfully put together for us.
Bottom line: if we can discern God's action in our lives, we can learn to do God's will!
Also it will teach you how to avoid temptations at the beginning and to not allow distractions keep you from praying. Teach you methods of getting out periods of dry spells so your prayer life become more fruitful. I was always afraid of St Ignatian's teachings as I was told His work was too deep and hard to understand but this was not the case. I learn so much from this book I urge anyone who has been praying on a regular basis to read this book!!! Texas
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Use this book to be free indeed!
Jesus came to set the captives free.