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Sacred Listening: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola Paperback – August 1, 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Most Catholics are familiar with the spiritual exercises of Ignatius Loyola, a series of meditations on the Gospels that are often said in retreats. Wakefield, a Lutheran pastor who is associate professor of biblical and spiritual theology at Salt Lake Theological Seminary, attempts to adapt the spiritual exercises for Protestants and the average Joe who would like to grow in prayer. As the Ignatian exercises are divided into four weeks, Wakefield separates his meditations into four "movements," the full exercises taking at least 24 weeks. He succeeds in making the spiritual exercises accessible to the average believer: his language is simple and clear, allowing the reader to concentrate on the meditation, and the three parts of every day-Contemplatio, Meditatio and Oratio-provide a nice structure. His first two chapters are especially helpful in outlining the goals of the exercises and detailing how to keep a spiritual journal. While his preliminary comments to each unit and the text of his meditations introduce basic Ignatian themes and scriptural content, the four movements lack the depth of St. Ignatius's mystical theology. However, this book does well in introducing Protestants of various denominations to contemplative prayer and provides a useful tool for meditating on the life of Christ.
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From the Back Cover

Ignatius Loyola's time-honored Spiritual Exercises adapted for Protestants today

For five centuries, Ignatius Loyola's Spiritual Exercises have been leading Christians to deeper faith. Now, James Wakefield brings the richness of this enduring text to contemporary Protestants.

Sacred Listening adapts Ignatius's original month-long spiritual retreat into a guide that allows you to weave prayer and contemplation of Scripture into your day-to-day schedule. As you pray, write in a journal, study Scripture, and share your experiences with a partner, you will encounter

-the profound gift of God's mercy and forgiveness
-the goals and values exemplified in the humanity of Christ
-the price of redemption and the cost of discipleship
-a new depth and richness in your relationship with Christ

Along every step of this journey, you will discover Christ in new ways and be transformed by the power of a time-honored tradition that continues to speak to us today.


"For those who are hungry and ready for a life-changing encounter with the living God, I seriously doubt there is a more practical and more profound resource than this book."--Gregory A. Boyd, author, Letters from a Skeptic and Seeing Is Believing

"As a Jesuit for 62 years, I have been formed by the Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, our principal founder. I rejoice, then, at the long-awaited publication of Sacred Listening. It will be for its readers, I hope, a classic manual for spiritual growth in genuine mystical prayer."--Armand M. Nigro, S.J., professor emeritus, Gonzaga University
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Books (August 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080106614X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801066146
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #463,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Over 10 years ago I had my first opportunity to go through a trial of the spiritual exercises as Dr. Wakefield was adapting them for followers of Christ who wanted to know more intimacy with Him. I knew the Bible, I taught the Bible, but I was keenly aware there was much, much more that Christ was calling me to in knowing Him.

The exercises transformed my life as I was actually put into the scenes where Jesus walked and taught. I learned to hear his voice speaking the words of scripture personally to me. I learned to see His face looking into mine with meaningful expression. I learned to see myself more clearly with strengths and weaknesses and yet know his unconditional love even when I needed correction.

I have since repeated the exercises twice, this last time with a "listener" and again found them to be enriching.

For anyone who is hungry for more of Christ, I eagerly recommend you invest yourself in the spiritual exercises reworked here for all to enjoy.

Blessings & peace as you pursue Him, Vicki Barram
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Format: Paperback
James Wakefield has made the Exercises accessible to evangelical Christians, or anyone seeking to deepen their prayer life with Christ through this historical method of Scripture meditations. The Ignatian Exercises were an important step in my personal journey into greater intimacy with the Triune God, and has provided the context for break-thrus in listening to God for those whose Exercises I have been the listener for. The Exercises have already become a standard follow-up resource for Imago Christi's Spiritual Formation Discovery event, and is a valuable tool for spiritual direction. Make sure you have a listener to support you in this discipline. More information about the Ignatian Exercises and Ignatian coaching is available on the Imago Christi website.
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This book has been major part of the process of spiritual growth in my life. I was blessed to take part in "the exercises of Ignatius Loyola" while the book was in process -- before the book was actually published. The author facilitated a group using the exercises when I was a very young Christian. It was life-changing! And, I've actually been part of groups doing the exercises several times over many years. It never ceases to be new and challenging.

I would recommend this book to almost anyone, since it has the potential to provide growth on many levels, dictated by the spiritual level of any reader.

On a personal level, just a few weeks ago, my son (an Army tank commander) was killed in Iraq by a suicide bomber. The foundation of "Sacred Listening" has provided me with tools to deal with the grief, and interact with God is a way not experienced before.

Anyone who is even considering buying this book should buy it!!!! You won't be sorry. Actually,I have no hesitation in saying that you'll be blessed beyond anything you can imagine!

Bonnie Julian
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By P. Higgs on December 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book to learn to listen to God and meditate on the Scriptures. It has helped me immensely. It does require a time commitment and some self discipline, But it is worth it.
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I have waited until I'm a few weeks away from completing the exercises lined out in this book to post a review. I began this book with a small group, but because of the time commitment the other group participants dropped out after only a week or 2. Listening is meant to be 2-fold: personally listening to the Holy Spirit and listening to one another 1:1. I only had human listeners on one occasion. While I benefitted from that interaction, I can attest to the benefit of doing the exercises alone, too. I was unsure of the intent of the author in one of the early exercises. He responded to my email requesting clarification within the hour. It takes a commitment of at least an hour a day to really listen and complete the journaling necessary for reflection. I'm not sure I could have given the exercises the time needed for true reflection if I were working full time. I appreciate the work Dr. Wakefield has done in making the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius applicable to Protestants!
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About 16 years ago (a length of time I am reluctant to admit), I spent a year going through this exercise before it was in book form. I sent my journaling to a friend in Oregon via email and then he would respond back. In turn I lead a another person through this experience which again took about a year. I have been journaling every day since then using the format suggested by the author. The hour I spend each morning, roughly from 6-7, keeps me grounded in God's unrelenting grace. I hope anyone who reads would be encouraged to take this, of course as our living Lord leads. Blessings to all.
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