Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin- Chapter 1

Hello all!  So much for a post every few days- ha! AJ has some nasty virus that has dogged him for three weeks.  I haven't been able to do anything extra since I'm taking days off here and there, visiting doctors and just generally trying to catch him up in school.  He's still sick so another trip to the doctor is in order tomorrow.   Anyway...onto the book!

I'm going to just quickly outline each chapter with little detail.  Then, I'm going to give a short personal reflection.  Please feel free to share right along!  I'm hoping that by outlining each chapter, the material will be more accessible in my working memory.  At the very least, I have a reference in case I want to return to the material.  

Here goes.  

Chapter 1

What is a spirituality? 
  • How you live in relationship with God
  • Christian spirituality believes Jesus is the Son of God
    • emphasis on love and charity
  • Spirituality is like a bridge 
    • All bridges do the same thing-they get you over rough terrain to a desired place
    • Different bridges serve different purposes and have distinct advantages and disadvantages
    • All spiritualities provide passage to God in different way
  • Each religious order has 'family traditions' and a charism that reflects how they relate to God
  • Hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality
    • Finding God in all things
      • your whole life is related to spirituality
      • spirituality isn't compartmentalized to a section of your life
      • Nothing has to be hidden away or feared
      • Ignatian spirituality guides you in finding God in all dimensions of your life
    • Contemplatives in action
      • prayer is important, but Jesuits are active with their spirituality
      • use a contemplative stance to inform actions
    • Incarnational spirituality
      • God can be found in the everyday events of our lives
      • Ignatian spirituality acknowledges the transcendence of God, but also realized the nearness of God
    • Freedom and detachment
      • identifying 'disordered affections'- they are what keep us from really being free
      • wealth, power, status, etc can become disordered affections
      • a disordered affection is anything that isn't life-giving
  • The Life of Ignatius Loyola
    • Born 1491, Basque, Spain
    • became a soldier, vain personality
    • 1521 leg shattered in battle
    • While he was recuperating, his sister-in-law gave him a book on the saints
    • He had nothing else to read- he became fascinated with the saints and wondered if he could emulate them (Martin describes the fact that Ignatius went about the spiritual life in a prideful way.  But, really, God "writes straight with crooked lines" and used his pride for good)
    • He began a year of severe austerity
    • After many false starts, he decided to get an education at the University of Paris
    • It was in Paris that he and 6 friends joined together in a vow of poverty. 
    • They tried to petition the Pope to start a new order.  But, many were suspicious of the practice of being a contemplative in action.  Ignatius was even thrown in jail by the Inquisition for 17 days. 
    • 1537- ordained a priest
    • 1540- Society of Jesus was approved by Pope Paul III
    • Ignatius spent the rest of his days administering the Jesuits, writing the Constitutions and the Spiritual Exercises
    • Died 1556
  • Constitutions
    • How to live your life with others
    • Rules of the order
  • Spiritual Exercises
    • How to live your life
    • 4 week retreat- all Jesuits make this retreat
    • Can be condensed and adapted for lay people
Okay- that was longer than I thought it would be!  I love the metaphor of spirituality being like a bridge.  It's so encompassing and forgiving.  It's the best way I've read so far of describing spirituality.  When I read the 4 main principles of Ignatian spirituality, I was immediately drawn to them.  Besides the freedom and detachment, I have a natural orientation toward this spirituality.  And, I crave freedom and detachment, it's just not natural for me.  

Okay, I am falling asleep.  Please excuse the lame reflection.  If I think of more, I'll add to it in the next few days.  


  1. I really like the analogy of spirituality as a bridge, without it our lives would be a lot harder.

  2. This is great! I also like spirituality being like a bridge. It just makes sense. :-)
    I hope your son is feeling better!